Professor Ansberry pens new text on wisdom books, Psalms

Grove City College Associate Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies Dr. Christopher B. Ansberry’s new textbook provides an accessible introduction and comprehensive survey of Old Testament scriptures.

“Reading Wisdom and Psalms as Christian Scripture: A Literary, Canonical, and Theological Introduction” covers Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, and Psalms in their literary, theological, and canonical contexts.

The book “is an ideal faith-friendly introduction for students,” in which Ansberry pays particular attention to theological themes of the wisdom books and the Psalter, connecting them to the broader biblical canon while exploring philosophical concerns and questions, according to publisher Baker Academic. Ansberry was recruited to write it as part of the publisher’s textbook series. It is geared for upper-level undergraduates, seminary students, and interested laypeople.

“I hope that students come away from my work with a clear sense of how Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, and Psalms help them in their lifelong journey of faith seeking understanding … They are so interesting because they ask and answer perennial questions of life.” Ansberry said.

“Proverbs asks, ‘What is the good life?’ Job asks, ‘How does one live in the absence of God and the absence of answers to life’s atrocities?’ Ecclesiastes asks, ‘What does it mean to be human?’ The Song of Songs asks, ‘What is love?’ And the Psalms ask, ‘What is the life of faith?’”

Ansberry said he worked on “Reading Wisdom and Psalms as Christian Scripture” for three years, building on his doctoral work on Proverbs and more than a decade of teaching the Old Testament scriptures. His Grove City College colleagues and students, particularly in his wisdom literature classes, were helpful sounding boards as he researched and wrote.

“Ansberry offers a profound set of theological readings that celebrates the way Christians have imbibed and ingested these ancient texts over many centuries,” according to reviewer Katharine Dell, professor of Old Testament literature and theology at the University of Cambridge.

“It engagingly addresses literary, theological, and historical issues, canonical connections, and reception history, including artistic representation. It is an ideal textbook that will engage students on a multitude of levels,” noted reviewer William P. Brown of Columbia Theological Seminary.

Ansberry is following up this book with a commentary, “Proverbs: The (Trans)formation of Character in accord with Wisdom and Virtue, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament,” that will be published this fall by Zondervan Academic.

“The textbook, my Proverbs commentary, and my work in general seeks to utilize and integrate the riches of the theological disciplines: close attention to the biblical text, Christian doctrine, the history of reception, and public theology, all for a rich practical theology,” Ansberry said.

Ansberry has served on the faculty at Grove City College since 2021. He previously taught at Oak Hill College in London and at Wheaton College. He is the author of “Be Wise, My Son, and Make My Heart Glad: An Exploration of the Courtly Nature of the Book of Proverbs.”  

Professor Ansberry pens new text on wisdom books, Psalms

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