New in the Biblical Studies from the CBA series!
by Bradley C. Gregory
The Psalms of Ascents (Psalms 120-134) are an important collection within the book of Psalms and have played a significant role in the history of spirituality. While scholars disagree on what precisely is meant by “ascents”, it is clear that these psalms are focused on the journey towards the presence of God, a God who is at once the “maker of heaven and earth” but also encountered in a particular place and among a particular people. This book will explore the rich imagery of these fifteen psalms to show how they nourish the search for God’s presence in a world that is marked by crises and hostility, not only in the world but tragically also within the people of God.
This collection of psalms reflects postexilic Israel’s confidence that in seeking God in Jerusalem the worshipper finds a blessing and peace that radiates out from Zion to infuse the most quotidian aspects of everyday life. The Psalms of Ascents are a summons to a spirituality for priest and commoner, the powerful and the marginalized, those near and those far, and anyone else suspended between fear and hope on the journey towards God. While this book will give readers a focused discussion on the theology and spirituality of these individual psalms, it will do so in a way that will provide a model for how the whole book of Psalms can be read responsibly and fruitfully. As such, the book will provide a resource for studying, teaching, and preaching these fifteen Psalms, but can also serve as an entryway into the rest of the book of Psalms..
Jesus' final challenge of the Gospel is for those who believe and love to "follow me." The purpose of the Gospel, therefore, is to prepare audiences to do just that.