Abstract and Keywords
Historically speaking it was scarcely predictable that the predominantly Gentile Christian community of Late Antiquity should be drawn to a book of ancient Jewish prayers, much less ascribe to it divine authority. Yet Christians adopted Israel’s book of Psalms in toto as part of the treasury of the people of Christ. The Psalter not only offered prophetic teaching and training in spirituality. For many with a radical Christological perspective, the texts mediated the very voice of Christ speaking in the first person, thus opening a window on the inner life of the redeeming Lord. The Psalms received more comment from early Christian writers than any other Old Testament book. It was a constant presence in liturgy, a training book for prayer, a source of theological instruction, a blueprint for spiritual advancement, and a key that unlocked the whole Bible. The chapter examines different ways the Psalms functioned among the early Christians.
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