Recent Critical Treatment Of The Psalter -- By: James F. McCurdy

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 032:128 (Oct 1875)
Article: Recent Critical Treatment Of The Psalter
Author: James F. McCurdy


Recent Critical Treatment Of The Psalter

Rev. James F. McCurdy

The critical attention bestowed upon the Psalter has always been out of proportion to the admiration and reverence with which that book has been regarded. And it is also worthy of remark that, in those countries where, in recent times, its influence upon the hearts of men has been most widely felt, the desire to study its form, character, and history, has been less intense than in lands where its spiritual power has been less generally experienced. Great Britain and America have produced but few expositions of the Psalms marked by independence and critical skill. In this country, while their practical teachings have been unfolded with some degree of success by various expositors, their true exegesis has had but a single worthy representative, the Commentary of Dr. J. A. Alexander.1 In Great Britain also the Psalter has received much less than its due share of attention in the efforts that have been made to profit by and emulate the achievements of German scholarship.

In the latter country, however, something has been done of late years towards taking away occasion for this reproach. For there the critical study of the Psalms has received a strong impulse from the growing interest felt in the interpretation of the Old Testament generally. J. F. Thrupp2 was the first English writer to present at all fully or satisfactorily the results of the investigations of continental critics. Seven years after the publication of his work an anonymous

treatise appeared,3 containing a good deal of suggestive matter; but impaired in value by following the arbitrary chronological arrangement of Ewald, hereafter to be noticed. The Commentary of Bishop, then Archdeacon, Wordsworth,4 issued in the same year, was a return to the ancient patristic methods of exposition, and gave but small place to the labors of modern commentators. The allegorizing principle of interpretation has no contemporary representative of greater consistency or devotion than Wordsworth. The Commentary of A. R. Fausset, forming part of a well-known exposition of the whole Bible republished in this country, is worthy of mention for its condensed and valuable notes. Attention must be specially called, however, in our survey of the English exposition, to two works,5 which, on account of their representative character, as well as their intrinsic merits, are more worthy of the attention of American Bible-stud...

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