The Psalms: Songs for all Times explores the book of Psalms within Israel’s historical, social and cultic environment and the broader Ancient Near East context. We will study how the psalms provided the people of Israel with prayers, songs and cries for God’s intervention, and the ways they have been woven into the fabric of Christian worship. We will explore the theological contribution of the Psalms and how they have informed and shaped the lives of people of faith across the centuries and continue to do so in our contemporary world, even beyond the bounds of the Church in popular culture.

Unit code: BA2734B

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Eva Burrows College

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Learning outcomes


Identify the literary features of the psalms including their poetic form and type.


Interpret the psalms within the historical and socio-cultural context of ancient Israel and other ANE settings.


Practice exegetical skills on selected psalms.


Illustrate the contribution of the psalms to personal and communal, contemporary Christian life.

Unit sequence

Undergraduate level 2 – 18 points from field B Undergraduate level 3 – 36 points from field B Prohibited combination: The Book of Psalms


The learning in this unit will be scaffolded by learning materials produced by the lecturer, together with readings. Learning activities may include: exegetical exercises to practice and develop skills, regular learning tasks, engagement through online forums, virtual classroom sessions and student collaboration.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Poetry, Rev ed. New York: Basic Books, 2011.
  • Anderson, Bernhard W. Out of the depths: the Psalms speak for us today. 3rd edition. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000.
  • Brueggemann, Walter. The Psalms and the Life of Faith. Minnesota: Fortress Press, 1995.
  • Brueggemann, Walter, and William H. Bellinger. Psalms. New Cambridge Bible Commentary. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
  • Craigie, Peter, and Marvin E. Tate. Psalms 1-50 2nd ed. Waco: Word, 2004.
  • Goldingay, John. Psalms (three volumes) Grand Rapids: Baker Academic Press, 2006-2008.
  • Jacobson, Rolf A. Soundings in the Theology of the Psalms: Perspectives and Methods in Contemporary Scholarship. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011.
  • Kraus, Hans-Joachim. Theology of the Psalms. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992.
  • Mays, James L. Preaching and Teaching the Psalms. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006.
  • Wenham, Gordon J. Psalms as Torah: reading biblical songs ethically. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay 2000 words

2000 50.0

Exegesis 1250 words

1250 25.0

Essay Creative work based upon exegesis (written word based) 1250 words

1250 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 30 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2019-11-08 13:27:29 +1100