The psalms were written well over 2000 years ago, and some of their imagery may seem strange, disturbing, even inappropriately violent; yet they are so recognisably human. They cover the gamut of emotions from praise and celebration to anger, grief, and anguished bewilderment. Some are deeply personal poems; others transmit the memories and hopes of a nation.
We will delve into this ancient poetry afresh, examining its characteristic features and discussing the ongoing power of its metaphors. We will consider the difficulties involved in translating the psalms, and discover how they have inspired later poets. We will look at the use of the psalms in the New Testament, and explore their place in liturgy, both Jewish and Christian.
No Hebrew is required – we will be reading the psalms in English translations. It would be helpful to bring a Bible.