Introduction to the Psalms: A Song from Ancient Israel seeks to provide the reader with a solid introduction to the Hebrew Psalter, one that is informed by an interest in its shape and shaping. Its author, Nancy deClaisse-Walford, provides an up-to-date study on the poetic style of the psalms in the Psalter, their Gattungen or genres, the broad shape of the book, and the history of its shaping. She introduces each of the five books of the Psalter, providing a detailed examination of those individual psalms that are either key to the shaping of the Psalter or interesting studies in poetic style. In the final chapter, deClaisse-Walford draws conclusions about the shape of the Psalter and about its story and message. She proposes a way to read that Psalms as a unified whole and in relationship to one another rather than as individual pieces, giving as inclusive, all-encompassing shape to the Psalter.
Included are two Appendices that provide a listing of the Superscriptions and Gattungen of the psalms in the Hebrew Psalter and an explanation of many of the technical terms found in their superscriptions.