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Book Review OBST592

Book Review OBST592

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Book Review, Michael Paddy May 11, 2008
Michael PaddyOld Testament Orientation IIProfessor B.K. Lester, Ph.D.Adjunct Professor of Old Testament May 11, 2008
Reflections on the Psalms
The Celebrated Musings on One of the Most Intriguing Books of the BibleC.S. Lewis
IntroductionC.S. Lewis has always been an enigma to me. From the moment I picked up one of his books early in myChristian life, The Screwtape Letters,
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I have been confused and bewildered by the fascination of somany people to him and his writings. I chose this book on a dare from my accountability group becausethey knew that I would stumble through the reading having to intentionally try to understand the manas well as the content of his writing. I believe that to appreciate, understand and bring clarity to readinga book one needs to understand the author. I will share my thoughts on this in my conclusion.Summary of the BookThis is not a work of scholarship...I write for the unlearned about things in which I am unlearnedmyself.
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I writetalking about difficulties I have metlights I have gained...with the hope that thismight at any rate interest, and sometimes even help, other inexpert readers.
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 These quotes from the introduction set forth the initial idea Lewis had in writing down his thoughts on achosen selection of the Psalms. But what one finds in reading his book is anything but general or simplebut as the subtitle aptly says, musings which can be defined as ruminations, or thoughtful reflections.
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 He tries to say that they are not a collection of essays he has written but rather Psalms he has beendriven to not by what he liked but in some cases by what challenged him as well.
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I found it to beselections of thoughts on subjects or themes that probably challenged the man Lewis, in his longspiritual search and journey.
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The Screwtape Letters,
C.S. Lewis, Copyright restored by C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd., 1996, Harper Collins Books
 
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Reflections on the Psalms
, C.S. Lewis, page 1, Harcourt Books, Copyright Arthur Owen Barfield, 1986
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C.S. Lewis, p.2
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 www.wordreference.com
 
, Adapted From: WordNet 2.0. Copyright by Princeton University. All rights reserved
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C.S. Lewis, p.2
 
Book Review, Michael Paddy May 11, 2008
Like most of his books he tends to think out loud writing with a style that is more conversational thanwritten. His propensity to the use of interjections in the middle of a thought, The Psalms were writtenby many poets and at many different dates. Some, I believe, are allowed to go back to the reign of David; I think certain scholars allow that Psalm 18, (0f which a slightly different version occurs in 1Samuel 22) might be by David himself.
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, at times seemed distracting and made reading difficult for me.But I found myself eventually settling down as I read as if I was having a long conversation with Lewis onthe topics he chose to speak on in connection with the Psalms. (I actually imagined Lewis voice to bethat of Anthony Hopkins' as I read, because of the actors role playing Lewis in The Shadowlands
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).His introduction finishes with his discussion and explanation of literary types such as parallelism,translation, using four main sources for checking word(s) meaning
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, finally closing with a deprecatingcomment on himself and critics of his work.
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 This book of musings is broken down first in a collection of chapters dealing with specific themes thatseemed to intrigue Lewis; some even challenging his and others preconceived thoughts on the subjectsmentioned like judgment, cursings and death. He wonders aloud the reason behind these subjects andthemes in a book of rejoicing and praise.
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 He then moves onto topics that are light and poetic as he says: What must be said, however, is that thePsalms are poems, and poems intended to be sung: not doctrinal treatises, nor even sermons.
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Hesets forth his ideas and in two chapters offers what he calls Second Meanings where he tries tointerject other thoughts held on the subjects at hand to take a deeper look at critical thought concerningthe subjects.
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 I found the book to be difficult to read at times because of what I mentioned earlier. I am sure there aremany who find Lewis writings pivotal to the deep Christian thinker.
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And the significant impact thelast thirty years of his lifes work has had on the general reading public
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I only came to appreciatewhat I read after looking at comparative books to examine the similes and differences as required by thecourse.
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C.S. Lewis p.2
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The Shadowlands
, 1993, Produced by Richard Attenborough and Brian Eastman, A Warner Brothers Production
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C. S Lewis pp. 4-7
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C.S. Lewis pp. 7, 8
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C.S Lewis p.9
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C.S Lewis p.2
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C.S. Lewis pp. 99-108; 120-138
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C.S. Lewis, Back Cover, quote from Jan Karon, (no information on person)
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C.S. Lewis Back Cover, quoted from The Times Literary Supplement (London)
 
Book Review, Michael Paddy May 11, 2008
Other Writings of Similar GenrePulling three books from my own library on the subject of the Psalms in comparing style, content,substance and teaching, I was surprised to see many similarities when I thought I would see morecontrasts in representing the Book of Psalms to the reader.Starting with my favorite expositor of the Psalms, Derek Kidner and his work, Psalms, An Introduction &Commentary,
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I was surprised to revisit these two volumes to see that Kidner starts off in hisintroduction with the subject of Hebrew Poetry.
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 His expanded thoughts were on the Old Testament in general but the idea was that the Psalms must belooked at in its literary style of poetry to be understood and interpreted correctly.
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Much like Lewis heinfers that reading the Psalms must first be read in this literary genre and context.The differences in writing style is obvious to the reader in that Lewis as stated tended to be musing,thinking out loud, while Kidners style is well formatted with ideas, thoughts and comments laid out withmore examples and more contributed notes, texts, authors, and examples from the Psalms itself.Where Lewis used a collection of thoughts or anthological abbreviated style of looking at just a fewPsalms, Kidner sets forth in his Introduction a more complete reference for the reader to go back to asthey work their way through the entire book of the Psalms.Style of writing and intended purpose of the books differ but should in no way give credence to onebeing more better, or more correct. What it shows are that both, though different in style, content, andpurpose; can be used to enlighten one in understanding the Psalms.A second book chosen to interact with in this study was written by a more popular, contemporaryChristian writer, Charles Swindoll. His two volumes, Living Beyond the Daily Grind,
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are more in linewith Lewis as the subtitle of Swindolls book is Reflections on the Songs and Sayings in Scripture. Notlimiting himself to the Psalms, Swindoll breaks down his two volumes using an A B style in both volumes.He selects a collection of Psalms and a collection of Proverbs giving devotional thoughts to each.Swindolls books has an introduction to lay out his purpose in writing, The right combination of words,melody and rhythm seldom to work like magicthe pressures and demands folks like us are forced tocope withwe could use a little magic.
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 Immediately Swindoll uses the literary style of the Psalms as a focal point in bringing clarity to ones lifeand especially the daily grind that accompanies it using what he calls the magic of song.
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The veryfirst distinction in this volume(s) and Lewis is that where Lewis says his book is for the unlearned and in
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Psalms
, Derek Kidner, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, D.J. Wiseman, Editor, Intervarsity Press, 1973
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Derek Kidner p.1
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Derek Kidner, p.1 ff.
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Living Beyond the Daily Grind 
, Charles R. Swindoll, Copyright 1988 by Charles R. Swindoll, Word Publishers
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Charles R. Swindoll, p. ix, Introduction
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Charles R. Swindoll, pp. vii-xi, Introduction
 

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