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T. A. Perry interacts with the Psalms in his newest book, Psalm
19: Hymn of Unification. With his characteristically engaging
writing style, Perry couples a detailed exegesis of this psalm
with a philosophical meditation on its value and meaning.
Psalm 19 begins with “The heavens declare the glory of God, and
the firmament proclaims the work of his hands.” This psalm—
which C. S. Lewis called “the greatest poem in the Psalter and one
of the greatest lyrics in the world”—tells how all of creation speaks
in praise of God, and then meditates on the beauty and perfection
of the law of Yahweh, Israel’s covenant lord.
T. A. Perry divides his book into two main parts, coupling a detailed
exegetical analysis of Psalm 19 with a philosophical meditation
(from a Jewish perspective) on nature, the law, and the relationship
between humanity and the rest of creation.
Perry advances the thesis that Psalm 19 presents a vision of
“universal unification” for the entire creation, one that is not
restricted to Jews but that embraces all people and, indeed, all
of nature. Like Genesis 1, Psalm 19 tells a story of the origins,
structures, and directions of the universe that God has made and
over which he rules—thus providing a paradigmatic statement of
monotheism as a religious system. In addition, Psalm 19 invites us
to reflect on the tensions inherent in monotheism, especially the
struggle between love and justice that we see in Israel’s God.