Psalmody as Alternative to Theodicy

Theodicy has become a significant topic in Old Testament study, and
the Psalms are a natural work to approach through this lens. They are
often concerned with the way Israel or individual Israelites find life
not working out as one might expect on the basis of Yahweh’s power and
Yahweh’s commitment to them. But theodicy is by its nature a
theologico-philosophical topic of discussion concerning questions
about God’s nature and God’s involvement in the world, and
characteristically the Psalms do not exactly engage in such
theologico-philosophical reflection. They do address Yahweh and
address people over matters that have become the concerns of theodicy,
yet their own direct concern is not to find insight on those questions
but to give expression to or model or resource a way of living with
the experiences that issue in the theodicy question.

In this paper posted under “Writings,” John seeks to engage with the way the Psalms
themselves address Yahweh in praise, protest, and thanksgiving, and
simultaneously address people in confession, appeal, and testimony,
with an awareness of the issues that modernity and postmodernity raise
in discussion of theodicy, but in a fashion not too bound by the
framework of that discussion.