“I suggest that Protestants start reading the Psalms sequentially, that those who embark upon a reading of the psalms, listen to them christocentrically, watching Christ do battle with the enemies of God…this is analogous to the way the church fathers and the reformers read the Psalms, though I propose we do it quite systematically. I propose that we listen to them being recited by Jesus Christ.” (William Holladay: The Psalms Through Three-Thousand Years: Prayerbook of a Cloud of Witnesses)
As we were discussing the Psalms last night in class. My professor put this quote on the board to illustrate that a christocentric reading of the Psalms was typical of the church fathers. Then to drive home his point he stated “and if you don’t put much stock in the church fathers then maybe you will put a little more in the New Testament authors. Because that is how they read it as well.”
@Josh: I like this quotation. Now, if someone is doing graduate studies in ANE religions, this may not be appropriate as an approach, but if someone is seeking to preach or teach these Psalms, or think about them from the perspective of Christian theology, then yes, this is exactly how we should read them.
I guess I want to say, “yes, but…” they are definitely prayers but I am not sure about reading them all christocentrically yet.
I guess we must ask, in part, what we mean by Christocentrically. Also, I think we need to ponder how we are reading the Psalms, whether more or less individually or as a corpus.
Well, remember your post on lament? do lament prayers need to be read Christocentrically? can lament just be lament? not that Christ isn’t the answer or anything like that – but I think many need to be allowed to speak for themselves… an guide us in our own prayer life and interaction with the Lord.
(Thinking out loud here) I do wonder if there is any sense in which Christians can enter into lament without Christ being a participant. As Paul would say, our sufferings participate and continue in his, no?
or the Holy Spirit…
I wouldn’t necessarily see the work/life of Christ as being separate (distinct, yes) from the Spirit.
I can certainly see what you are saying. This is a new perspective that I have only recently been made aware of. I am not at the point where I want to go through every Psalm and count the ways it relates to Christ. However, at this point, I do agree with Holladay in the overall Christocentricy 0f the Psalms. It is very interesting conceptually.
@ Brian: I’m glad you like the quote.
I still can’t come at Christocentric readings of the Psalms or the Old Testament. I think its message and its meaning is found in its original context. God has alway been who he is. He has acted the way he has BC and AD. But this is not a popular opinion and not one I can argue all that well. I tried with BW3 and we had to agree to disagree! 😉
You also disagree with Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter….should I continue? 😉
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