The Psalms and Their Theology studies the book of Psalms within Israel’s historical, social and cultic environment and the broader Ancient Near East context. Grounded in a thorough linguistic and literary analysis of the text of the Psalms, we will study their theological contribution(s). We will learn how the Psalms provided the people of Israel with prayers, songs and cries for God’s intervention, and how they have informed and shaped the lives of people of faith across the centuries. We will evaluate the ways the Psalms have been woven into the fabric of Christian worship, and their continued influence in our contemporary world, even beyond the bounds of the Church in popular culture.

Unit code: BA3030W

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Whitley College

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Learning outcomes


Analyse the literary features of selected psalms.


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


Exegete selected psalms.


Critically evaluate the contribution of the Psalter to Christian theology and worship.


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

Unit sequence

Prerequisite: 15 Points in BA


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

  • Adamo, D.T. “Psalm 35 in Africa (Yoruba) Perspective.” Old Testament Essays 32.3 (2019): 639–955.
  • Bosma, C.J. “Discerning the Voices in the Psalms: A Discussion of Two Problems in Psalmic Interpretation.” Calvin Theological Journal 43.2 (2008): 183–212.
  • Bosma, C.J. “Discerning the Voices in the Psalms: A Discussion of Two Problems in Psalmic Interpretation Part 2.” Calvin Theological Journal 44.1 (2009): 127–170.
  • Kroeger, C.C. and M.J. Evans (Eds). The IVP Women's Bible Commentary. Downers Grove [Ill.]: InterVarsity Press, 2002.
  • Talstra, E. “Singers and Syntax: On The Balance of Grammar and Poetry in Psalm 8.” In Give ear to my words: Psalms and other poetry in and around the Hebrew Bible: essays in honour of Professor N.A. van Uchelen. 11–22. Edited by J.W. Dyk. Amsterdam: Societas Hebraica Amstelodamensis, 1996.
  • Vriezen, T.C., and A.S. Van Der Woude. Ancient Israelite and Early Jewish Literature. Edited by B. Doyle. Leiden: Brill, 2005.
  • Lombaard, C. “The Psalms’ Ancient Musicality, Later Musical Reception and Bono’s Psalmic Spirituality.” Old Testament Essays 32.2 (2019): 764–780.
  • Waltke, B.K., J.M. Houston, and E. Moore. The Psalms as Christian Worship: A Historical Commentary. Grand Rapids [Mich.]: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010.
  • Watson, W.G.E. Classical Hebrew Poetry: A Guide to Its Techniques. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 26. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1984.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)


1400 25.0


1400 25.0


2200 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 13 Oct, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:50 +1000