Can the psalm found in the Sunday liturgy truly nourish our prayer? A Short Dictionary of the Psalms helps Christians who pray the psalms to return to the sources of these ancient inspired texts and understand them better and thus to participate more fully in this great school of prayer and the interior life that the Church has received from Israel.
The psalms have deeply influenced, and continue to influence, Jewish and Christian prayer. A Short Dictionary of the Psalms helps all those who are exposed to the psalms to enter more readily into their theological and spiritual world. In this practical work, Father Prévost takes an in-depth look at forty words in the psalms, chosen largely because of their frequency but also because of the diversity of meanings that modern users might assume. He encourages looking at the psalms that were composed in the past to ask ourselves how they can contribute to our own prayer today.
Each of the forty words are examined from two perspectives. The first gives etymological and semantic information on the meaning of the root and the words compounded from it. The second section is devoted almost exclusively to the use of the word or the root in the Psalter, and identifies its characteristic meanings. A series of separate short essays serves as general introductions to the Psalter to help readers with problems that may be encountered when using the psalms as prayer in today’s world. The word study is done on the original Hebrew, but a table in the back of the book allows those who don’t know or are unfamiliar with Hebrew to learn the words’ and themes’ English equivalents.
A Short Dictionary of the Psalms helps the faithful enter into the world of the Psalter through the gateway of the specific words that constitute the characteristic vocabulary of the psalms. This small volume provides the tool to savor the psalms and more readily internalize their meaning.
Jean-Pierre Prévost, SMM, belongs to the Montfort community in Montreal. He is on the faculty at St. Paul’s University, Ottawa, Ontario. Out of the experience of numerous courses, seminars, and retreats he was able to fine-tune the explanations of vocabulary particular to the psalms, which have become prayers of the Church. Father Prévost was also a contributor to Pray without Ceasing, published by The Liturgical Press.