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Invitation to the Psalms, 2nd Edition

A Reader’s Guide for Discovery and Engagement

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The book of Psalms is perhaps the most cherished book in the Old Testament. In this lively volume, two experienced teachers invite us to read and explore the Psalter and roam widely among its poems.

Invitation to the Psalms introduces the dynamics of the biblical text, helping students of the Bible become careful and attentive readers. This clear and concise guide covers how to read Hebrew poetry, the Psalter's basic genres, the idea of "the psalmist," the metaphorical world of the Psalms, and the theology of the Psalms. It gives readers confidence to explore the Psalms on their own and could readily be used in the first weeks of class to orient students to the Psalms.

The second edition of this popular textbook, now updated and expanded, adds a chapter on the shape and shaping of the Psalter and sidebars that highlight the use of the Psalms in popular culture. Discussion questions are also included.

1. Why Is My Bible Repeating Itself? Learning to Understand Hebrew Poetry
2. What Is a Psalm? Learning to Understand Different Psalm Genres--Part 1
3. What Is a Psalm? Learning to Understand Different Psalm Genres--Part 2
4. What Is a Psalmist? Learning to Understand the Voice and Life Situations of the Psalms
5. Is God a Rock, a Light, or a Shepherd? Learning to Understand Metaphors, Imagery, and Symbolism in the Psalms
6. "Who Is the King of Glory?" Learning to Understand the Theology of the Psalms
7. Why Are the Psalms in This Order? Learning to Interpret Psalms within the Context of the Book of Psalms


"This volume invites readers to enter the world of the Psalter, and then, like a wise guide, it points out the scenery, the history, and the stories along the way. With accessible language and instructive (and often humorous) examples, this is a trustworthy companion to the prayer book of ancient Israel, a book that has shaped both Jewish and Christian worshiping communities for millennia. This volume will be an invaluable resource for teachers, students, and small groups as they seek to explore the riches of the Psalter."

Kathryn Schifferdecker, professor and Elva B. Lovell Chair of Old Testament, Luther Seminary

"For a decade, Rolf and Karl Jacobson have invited readers to understand and appreciate the Psalms more deeply. Their introduction synthesizes and distills the best scholarship on Hebrew poetry, the forms and functions of the psalms, and the theology of the Psalter into an accessible guide for interpretation. With the second edition, the Jacobsons draw additional attention to how the arrangement of and connections between individual psalms may impact their meaning--and to how the book of Psalms connects meaningfully with the larger culture, from Whitney Houston to Hollywood Westerns to Minnesota's ten thousand lakes."

Rebecca W. Poe Hays, assistant professor of Christian Scriptures, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

The Authors

  1. Rolf A. Jacobson

    Rolf A. Jacobson

    Rolf A. Jacobson (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is professor of Old Testament and the Alvin N. Rogness Chair of Scripture, Theology, and Ministry at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the coauthor, with...

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  2. Karl N. Jacobson

    Karl N. Jacobson

    Karl N. Jacobson (ThD, Providence Theological School) is senior pastor of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He previously taught at Augsburg College. He is the author of Memories of Asaph and has coauthored several books...

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