The Still-Being-Written Book

As Michelle mentioned below, there is an Amazon seller who is helpfully offering a used version of my book Psalming Christ: Learning to Pray the Psalms with Cassiodorus. Personally, I’m a little skeptical about this offer. The chief reason is because I have yet to finish writing it… Kinda hard to sell a used copy of something that doesn’t exist yet!

This is the “so what” book that follows up the historical study of Cassiodorus. The key thing I’m fussing with is this: how do educated laypeople, familiar with the tenets of modern biblical criticism, go to somebody like Cassiodorus (or even Augustine) and use patristic work on the psalms profitably to aid the modern spiritual life?

Work is progressing on it, and I think I’m about at the point to begin releasing sections of it on the blog to test out. It’s good for me to see how people who don;t live inside my head or household react to what I’m trying to get across.

One thing I’ve already determined is that the title may need a tweak; the second part perhaps should read “Learning to Pray the Psalms with Cassiodorus and Benedict” or maybe even “Praying the Psalms with Cassiodorus and Benedict.” That’s because the more I work with Cassiodorus and his reception history, the more convinced I am that his psalm commentary fits hand-in-glove with Benedict’s rule. I’m not suggesting that they knew each other or anything, but that the two works complement each other perfectly and that the circulation of Cassiodorus’s Explanation of the Psalms appears to demonstrate this.  What I will say is that, despite his genius in so many other areas, Leclercq made an error in painting Benedict and Cassiodorus as oppositional figures. In Love of Learning and Desire for God (which you really should read if you haven’t), Leclercq positions the two as he does reading Benedict’s Rule as being opposed to the spirit of Cassiodorus’s Institutions. He, like so many others, read the wrong book by Cassiodorus and incorrectly identified the Institutions as being more important than the Psalm commentary.  The manuscript distributions in early medieval Europe clarify to true state of things…

In any case, look for modern prayerful engagement with patristic psalm exegesis to be showing up here over the next few months mixed in with other stuff that’s floating around in my head.