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Familiar. Comforting. Beloved. And a little weird.

For millennia the psalms have been whispered in prayer, lifted in song, and recited in worship. They are among the most well-known and beloved writings in the Bible. And yet…

Our familiarity with ancient Israel’s sacred songs can obscure their strangeness. Their otherness. Their … well … ancientness. 

Join Joshua T. James as he unpacks the biblical scholarship surrounding this enduring collection of poetry, from the ancient psalmists’ cultural, political and theological contexts to the key movements in Psalms’ scholarship. By illuminating the oddities hiding in plain sight, Josh unveils the wonder and mystery inherent in the psalms, and makes a compelling argument for their continued relevance today.

You don't have to take our word for it... here's what some other awesome people are saying:

“What a great little book! And how marvelous to have someone who really knows the Book of Psalms writing on it! Josh James begins from the fact that Psalms is the most relentlessly theological book in the Bible, but he shows that this doesn't mean it has to be complicated and unintelligible. He does deal with all the complicated questions, but you may not notice that this is what he is doing, because he writes so straightforwardly and engagingly and enthusiastically. I think his enthusiasm will be catching.””

John GoldingaySenior Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

“Josh James avoids the trap many biblical scholars fall into, which is to be so technical that readers doze off. Instead, in this wonderfully engaging book, James writes about the Psalms with theological depth, addressing challenging issues like Divine violence in a thorough, concise, and compelling way. I found myself pausing to contemplate, laughing out loud, and thinking deeply about the Psalms and the Divine. Pastors, Bible nerds, and normal people will enjoy this accessible yet theologically rich book.”

Rev. Dr. Carol McEntyreSenior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Columbia, MO

“Wow! Josh James is a Psalms Studies rockstar! This book introduces you in a clear and very accessible way to the latest and best scholarship on the Psalms; and if you are like me, you’ll be laughing out loud as you learn. You’ll learn about the origin and use of the Psalms in ancient Israel, as well as about their enduring theological and ethical significance. Never has Psalms studies been so entertaining!”

J. Clinton McCann, Jr.Evangelical Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Eden Theological Seminary, Author of the Psalms Commentary in The New Interpreter’s Bible

“In Psalms for Normal People Josh James introduces his readers to the beauty and richness of this much-loved book of the Bible, and does so with expertise, clarity and gentle humor. More striking, however, is the way James tackles head-on the very issues that modern readers of these ancient poems find confusing, confronting, and sometimes offensive: multiple gods, ancient cosmologies, laments, prayers for the destruction of one’s enemies, and so on. His explanations are often as insightful as they are provocative, but always offered with the goal of reading the Psalms “Christianly.” By clearing the roadblocks to good interpretation, James opens a path for ordinary Christians to appreciate and be nourished by the Book of Psalms.”

Dr. Douglas GreenSenior Lecturer in Old Testament and Hebrew Exegesis, Queensland Theological College, Brisbane, Australia


Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary

is one of the pastors of The Restoration Project in Salisbury, Maryland. He also serves as an “Affiliate Assistant Professor of Old Testament” at his alma mater, which is a fancy way of saying, he’s very very part-time. Josh lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with his wife, Kate, their two sons, Abe and Jude, and Porter, a beagle who is endlessly plotting his great escape.