About a year ago I re-read Life Together in the new translation. At the time I was interested in moving on to something else and did not really want to read the second book that was included in this volume. So I put it off.
I decided recently that I want to read more about Psalms and how it has been used as a prayer book for Christians. I remembered this book and picked it up. What I did not realize was how short it is. This is really a pamphlet There are some long form magazine articles that are this length. Even with the introduction I don’t think it took me more than an hour or so. The stand alone book says it is 88 pages, but there must be a longer introduction there.
That being said, this is worth reading if you. Bonhoeffer is writing a very Christological look at Psalms. This fits with my understanding of Bonhoeffer’s theology and with a number of other authors that I have read over the past several years.
And it makes sense as a way to understand Psalms as a Christian prayer book. Re-purposing the psalms as a Christian prayer necessarily changes the psalms from how they would have been read in 400 BC or in Jesus’ era. But we are not in either 400 BC or Jesus’ era.
I think there are other ways to read the Psalms and get value from them, but I think Bonhoeffer is mostly right about this as a way to understand the Psalms as a method of prayer. It is short, but you should get this version of Life Together anyway and it already includes this. So take a few minutes and read it.