The psalms are some of the most loved scriptures and yet they come laden with violent words and images. The Revised Common Lectionary often edits out the most disturbing verses. Psalm 137 is cut off at v 6 thereby avoiding the psalmist plea for vengeance and its cry to dash babies against stones in v 9. Ignoring and avoiding these difficult texts is neither productive nor honest. This course reads the psalms as trauma literature. For many, the legacy of understanding scripture as the inspired Word of God has resulted in thinking that everything in scripture must be “God approved.” Even if one does not hold that opinion, the influence of it colors how the psalms and “texts of terror” are read. In this course we will read the psalms as an honest cry from humanity, often in oppressed and persecuted circumstances. While not agreeing with the cry for vengeance, we should be able to hear and hold their pain. Each week a difficult psalm will be studied in its sitz in leben alongside modern case studies.
Prerequisites: HOM500 and either NT500 or HB500
Course will be taught in person at VST, and via Zoom for distance students (degree students must connect synchronously if studying via Zoom)