Respondent: Jonathan Magonet
Post #24 of a series on the Oxford Psalms Conference
Sue considers that the psalms cited in the NT are limited to 40, of which 4, 2, 22, 110, 118 are prominent and 16 others, with the Fathers also using 1, 8, 34, 45 and 17 others.
|A page from the Parma psalter|
We went through at lightning speed: Babylon and Edom as cyphers for Rome, interpolated Targumim, Kimchi - Titus and the Romans as Edomites, the Parma Psalter, Rossi influenced by Monteverdi, the influence of Allegri on Jewish music in polyphony, Zavel Zilberts 1923, Konrad Schaefer 1948, Abraham Cohen, Abram Chaim Feuer, the Chagall War Tapestry Knesset 1961
Then Christian readings - Jerome, Babel as confusion, harp as pleasure, the tree as the cross. Babylon vs Jerusalem, Origen, Luther Babylon as the church of Rome.
We continued - Babylonian captivity of the church, Griffin of Gloucester Abbey, Coverdale, Milton, By the waters of watertown! forbid it Lord that those who sucked Bostonian breasts...! Byron 1851, Nabucco, Swinburne 1871, Walton Belshazzar's Feast, Rastafari Melodians 1969, John Harbison Four Psalms 1999.
The keywords above do enable a search. It was difficult for me to take the paper in with its examples in order to grasp the nettle of the thesis of the abstract. The number of examples is large - and there are many more even for this one psalm. Clearly the psalms have had a great impact throughout our social tradition. Reception history needs time to be received. I have extended my reporting here with a link to two films that use psalms 137 - The Usual Suspects and Apocalypse Now.
Can we express anger in a liturgical context? Anger must be offered to God so that it does not turn into a military solution. We are not nice - we need liturgy to deal with these emotions. Do these verses (e.g. also Psalm 79:6) release or fuel anger?