This unit will introduce the Book of Psalms, and study the formation and development of the Psalter. It will give attention to the various forms of the Psalms, their setting and their functions within the historical experience of Israel. The course also seeks to provide critical knowledge of the theology inherent in the Psalms and explore the relevance, use and functions of the Psalms in today’s context.

Unit code: BA9020P

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate knowledge of the formation and development of the Psalter


Analyse the various types of Psalms: their form, content, settings and functions


Critically engage the Psalms and their varied theological positions


Demonstrate understanding and ability to work with a variety of methods and approaches to the interpretation of the Psalter


Apply the Psalms and their message to contemporary situations

Unit sequence

BA - Life, History and the People of God in the Hebrew Scriptures


Lectures, Seminars and Tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • Allen, L. C., Psalms 101–150, WBC, Waco, Texas: Word, 1987
  • Brown, William P. (Ed.). The Oxford Handbook of the Psalms. OUP, 2014. (recommended for purchase)
  • Brueggemann, W and Billinger Jr, William H. Psalms. New Cambridge Bible Commentary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. (recommended for purchase)
  • Craigie, P. C., Psalms 1–50, WBC, Waco, Texas: Word. 1983.
  • deClaisse-Walford, N. L., Introduction to the Psalms, St Louis: Chalice, 2004.
  • Gerstenberger, E., Psalms 1–60 with an Introduction to Cultic Poetry, Part 1, FOTL, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988
  • _____________, Psalms and Lamentations, Part 2, FOTL, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001.
  • Gillingham, S. E., The Psalms through the Centuries, Volume 1, Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.
  • Jacobson, Rolf A. (ed.) Soundings in the Theology of Psalms: Perspectives and Methods in Contemporary Scholarship. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2011 (recommended for purchase)
  • Tate, M., Psalms 51–1000, WBC, Waco, Texas: Word, 1990.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

3000 word essay on a theme in the Psalms

0 50.0
Exegetical Essay

3000 word exegetical essay on a Psalm with contextual comments

0 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 19 Oct, 2014

Unit record last updated: 2020-11-04 14:16:08 +1100