The Psalms can help us during a time of disruption and division.
Deep Calls to Deep demonstrates a new and generative way of reading the Bible, which looks for differences among texts to engage in dialogue over critical issues that are not only biblical but also are relevant to our contemporary crises. Bill Brown explores uncharted territory in the Bible with a particular focus on the Psalms, the most diverse book of the Bible.
By taking his cue from Martin Luther, Brown explores how the “little bible” (the Psalter) engages the larger Hebrew Bible in dialogue, specifically how the Psalms counter, complement, reconstrue, and transform biblical traditions and themes across the Hebrew canon, from creation and law to justice and wisdom.
In this deep study of the Psalms, Brown asks:
- What is humanity’s place and role in creation?
- What makes for a credible leader?
- What is “law and order”?
- What is the role of wisdom in the life of faith?
- What is the shape of justice in a society polarized by power and fear?
These and other questions, such as a chapter that offers a fresh look at the authority of Scripture, are hosted by the Psalms with the aim of prompting dialogue, the kind of dialogue that is most needed in a time of deep division and disruption.
Praise for Deep Calls to Deep
On one side a country—no, a world—in profound disruption. On the other side, the book of Psalms: a microcosm of the biblical world, what Luther called a little Bible. Who but Bill Brown could put these two worlds together in such a probing and profound way, with such insight, and in such elegant prose? His Seeing the Psalms has long been among my favorite books on the Psalter. Now Deep Calls to Deep joins it at the head of the list. Here is a truly “deep reading,” what Brown calls “reading for reciprocity,” that exemplifies the best in biblical-theological-ethical-interpretation written by one of the very best of our time. It is a must-read for any who care at all about how Scripture might speak to the disruptions that threaten to divide us forever. That means, of course, that it is must-reading for everyone.
--Brent A. Strawn, Professor of Old Testament and Professor of Law, Duke University
In Deep Calls to Deep Bill Brown adroitly highlights the intricate interplay between the Psalms and the rest of the Bible. Brown then weaves from this dialogue an image of how we might conceive the authority of the Bible as a sacred dialogue among its readers. This book is must reading for anyone who seeks to hear and understand the variety of voices in Scripture and to discern the profound meaning of the Psalter as a “little Bible.”
--Jerome Creech, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Deep Calls to Deep extends a hearty invitation to mutual dialogue among Christian communities. It does not encourage harmony and agreement but seeks to generate critical and potentially transformative conversations regarding scripture and authority.
--Nyasha Junior, Temple University, and author of Reimagining Hagar: Blackness and Bible
In this moment of societal disruption, Brown warmly invites us to sit together and consider anew the glorious psalms of our faith. We are beckoned to see how these diverse poems create a conversation with other biblical texts, not for the sake of uniformity but for the sake of courageous dialogue.
--Tyler Mayfield, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
In a world often wracked by arguments and silencing, William Brown provides a valuable witness to those of us who treasure Scripture. Using the central metaphor of “dialogue,” this fascinating study shows how all of the Bible interacts with the Psalms in a dialogical relationship. Brown invites us not only to listen in to that lively conversation, but also to join in with our voices, no matter where we are. A necessary book for our time!
--Roy L. Heller, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
Deep Calls to Deep is a timely book. William Brown’s commitment to dialogical interpretation is just what the Church needs in this unsettling and divisive time. The inner-biblical reading of the Psalms in conversation with the rest of the canon clarifies the dialogical nature of biblical revelation, and, in so doing it, Brown provides a roadmap for our own self-critical engagement with others as a journey of "fearless dialogue."
--Tom Dozeman, United Theological Seminary (Dayton, Ohio)