This course studies the book of Psalms, focusing on its use of the Old Testament (OT) in prayer. The Psalms are heavily dependent upon oral and literary sources of the OT for lament and complaint, praise and thanksgiving, trust, meditation, wisdom, celebration, and much more. We will study the Psalms as prayer, seeing the OT experienced and interpreted in the context of worship and liturgy. Among topics to be explored are: (1) relationships between God and people presupposed by the Psalms and OT; (2) particular parts of the OT used in the Psalms; (3) experiences and social roles psalmists bring to their prayer and use of the OT; (4) communal needs met by the prayers and OT of the Psalms; and, finally, (5) the continuing scriptural shape and voice of the Psalms in both Old and New Testaments. Primary work for this course involves close reading and exegesis of psalms and related OT texts, with a special concern for contemporary pertinence and application.
Instructor: Donn Morgan is Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Always a student and teacher of the Bible, he also held administrative positions at CDSP (academic dean, president). He has been deeply involved in theological education in The Episcopal Church and the Graduate Theological Union, as well as teaching in Asia and England. His books include Fighting with the Bible, Manifesto for Learning, Talking with the Bible and The Oxford Handbook of the Writings of the Hebrew Bible (editor).