I’ve posted a few times on the Psalter in the last week or so, noting how the psalms were written and slowly collected somewhere between the period 1400 and 400 BCE, give or take. This might be sort of a new concept for many Christians, but rather than detract from our view of Scripture it adds to it, in my opinion. Here’s one good point by Tremper Longman along these lines.
“The key is to see the Psalter as a living, open book during the whole Old Testament period. The Psalter was in constant use individually and corporately from its very beginning. In addition, new psalms were constantly added” (How to Read the Psalms, p. 43).
Though I think “constantly added” is an overstatement (150 psalms collected over 1000 years is not constant addition!), Longman’s point is well noted. Bernard Anderson, in Out of the Depths (another great study of the psalms), said it this way.
“A closer look at the fivefold structure of the Hebrew Psalter reveals that this symmetrical organization was superimposed upon previously circulating collections of psalms, just as modern hymn books are based upon previous editions” (he cites and explains the “editorial notice” at the end of Psalm 72 here; it is found on page 11).
I’ll continue this thought later…