Choose a psalm from the Book of Psalms to analyze. You may select anyone except Psalms 1, 2, 23, 117, 119, 123, 131, 133, 134, and 150.

Write a brief essay of two to no more than three pages in which you analyze your chosen psalm. The analysis should include comment on:

  • the form (genre) of the psalm, including a discussion of why you identify it with a certain form
  • the structure of the psalm (strophes, refrains, stanzas, etc.): What are its major parts, and how are they working together?
  • the poetry of the psalm: What significant poetic features do you see, and how do they contribute to what the psalmist is communicating?
  • unique features such as superscriptions, use of the psalm elsewhere in the Bible, and places presenting particular difficulties for interpretation, for example
  • the theology and message of the psalm: What does it tell us about God? What is the message of the psalm as a whole? What is the significance of that message to us?

Present your work in APA format, including a cover page and a references page. (No abstract is necessary.) As an essay, the paper should include an introduction, the body of the analysis, and a conclusion. Do not use lists, bullet points, or short-answer style. Present a complete, cohesive, prose essay.

In addition to the sources from which the assigned unit readings come, the following materials may be helpful resources for your analysis. You are welcome to use other appropriate sources. (As with any work in the course, keep in mind the Standards and Guidelines for Research. (The link will be provided to the assigned writer))

Anderson, B. W., & Bishop, S. (2000). Out of the depths: The Psalms speak for us today. (3rd ed.) Westminster John Knox Press.

Bergant, D. (2013). Psalms 1-72 (New Collegeville Bible commentary, vol. 22). Liturgical Press.

Longman, T. (2014). Psalms: An introduction and commentary (Tyndale Old Testament commentaries, vols. 15-16). InterVarsity Press.

Mays, J. L. (1994). Psalms (Interpretation). John Knox Press.

Tucker, W. D., & Grant, J. A. (2018). Psalms, Volume 2 (NIV Application Commentary). Zondervan.

Wilson, Gerald H. (2018). Psalms, Volume 1 (NIV Application Commentary). Zondervan

Standards and Guidelines for Research

In all work for this upper-level course, avoid using internet sources. This includes general information websites, wikis, blogs, sermons, apologetics and ministry sites, and other popular web content that frequently shows up in general search engine results. Instead, use scholarly, peer-reviewed publications whose quality has been vetted by experts in biblical studies and related academic fields. Additionally, reference works produced in the last 20 years or so are preferable to older sources because they are informed by the latest scholarship. (There are exceptions, of course.) Study Bible notes can be a starting place for some of our efforts, but given their brevity, they should not be a significant portion of the research base for our work.

Any print or digital resources (including websites) listed or cited in course textbooks, given in the course materials, or provided by your instructor will certainly satisfy these requirements. If you have applied these guidelines and still have questions about a source that you are considering for use in this course, please ask the instructor.

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