Distressing Psalms

The book of Psalms is a hymn book. It is a collection of hymns that was used first by the people of Israel primarily for services of worship in the temple in Jerusalem and in the synagogues of scattered Judaism. In later years this book of 150 hymns was adopted by the Christian Church as one of the major components in its worship. It was the very first “Book of Common Prayer” used by Israel and the Christian Faith in corporate worship….

Those who do surveys on sermons, report that the psalms are used for the text of more sermons than any other book of the Bible. Those same surveys tell us that they are used more in private worship than any other Biblical book. Specific psalms have also been committed to memory more than any other portion of scripture, other than the Lord’s Prayer. Obviously the Psalms are deemed important by the church.

But this reading or singing of the psalms present us with a rather odd phenomenon. There has been a long tendency to skip verses in the public reading of some of the psalms. We do surgery on some psalms because they shock us. These acts of surgery are called “Psalmectomies” or “textotomies.” We cut out the offending words.

To read more, check out the essays  under this heading that deal with these uncomfortable psalms, such as psalms of cursing, songs that express anger at God, psalms that lament God’s seeming absence, and others.

 

About prodigalprof

Professor of Christian Studies
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Distressing Psalms

  1. Dee Koza says:

    I had never heard of either of these terms but have experienced them both in Institutional Studies and writers for Churchwide studies.. Very interesting indeed!!!
    “Psalmectomies” or “textotomies.” We cut out the offending words.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s