I’ve just encountered powerful curriculum on Joshua. It’s entitled Joshua: A Journey of Faith and is the 2009-2010 Horizons Bible Study for Presbyterian women.
The first of many unsettling experiences during the LTS West Bank/Israel trip was my introduction to the Wall. While I had read much about the “separation wall” between Israel and the Occupied Territories and even seen photos from friends, I wasn’t prepared for the reality.
On the bus ride from Ben Gurion airport to our hotel in Bethlehem, the wall seemed everywhere–zigzagging across the landscape, chopping up fields, and blocking roads.
We had to pass through the wall in order to enter Bethlehem, where we stayed for much of our trip.
From January 6 to January 25, I joined my colleague Anabel Proffitt in leading a group of 21 students from our institution through the West Bank and Israel. I’ve recently returned, my camera full of pictures and my head full of realities to process and responses to formulate. In the next few weeks, I’ll be reporting on my evolving experience of the trip.
A lot will happen in the next six weeks.Continue reading
It’s one thing to acknowledge that the book of Psalms is written as poetry. It’s quite another to consider what difference the poetic style makes to interpretation of the Psalms. What if we encountered Psalm 139’s claim that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” not in private devotion or from the mouth of a lector in church but in a context more like that of def jam? This great piece is Marty McConnell’s “Instructions for a Body.”
This semester, my students in the Introduction to Hebrew Bible/Old Testament class at LTS are working with new textbooks: John Collins, A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Fortress, 2007) and Johanna van Wijk-Bos, Making Wise the Simple: The Torah in Christian Faith and Practice (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005). We also read from other sources (the Global Bible Commentary, the Women’s Bible Commentary, the Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible, and some internet pieces), but Collins and Bos have been our primary introductions to the Pentateuch.
In the spring 2010 semester at LTS, I’ll be teaching a new course: Violence and the Bible.
I first envisioned the course 5 years ago, as an extension of a course I already teach (Prophets of Divine Wrath: Nahum, Obadiah, and Malachi), work I’d done in my Nahum volume, and workshops I’d given in churches.
Now it’s time to give the course shape and select readings. So, I turn to readers with questions:
Thanks to all those who responded to my call for Psalms stuff. Here, I report on the array of objects we handled in our first Psalms class.
Not surprisingly, there were an array of musical settings of psalms. These included psalms marked for chanting within Christian and Jewish services, as well as those made into hymns for congregational singing.
Psalm-based performance pieces ranged from anthems and chorale pieces to contemporary praise music to Psalms passages in Coolio and U2 lyrics. We looked at hymnals from various denominations, as well as CD’s and could have watched youtube clips of contemporary artists. Among our collection were loans from the the rare book collection of the Lancaster Theological Seminary library:
1. Sternhold, Thomas and John Hopkins. The Whole Booke of Psalmes… London: Company of Stationers, 1625. The first English language version of metrical Psalms in use from at least 1562.
2. Tate, Nahum and Nicholas Brady. A New Version of the Psalms of David. Amsterdam: Henry Gartman, 1772. This version of the Psalms with music notation (first published in 1696) replaced the earlier Sternhold and Hopkins psalter in use most of the 17th century.
On Wednesday, I begin teaching a seminary course on the book of Psalms. After months immersed in the narratives of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, a turn to poetry/liturgy will take some adjustment.
I will begin the class with Psalms artifacts–concrete examples of the diverse ways in which biblical psalms are used in the present and have been used in the past. I have funeral bulletins, hymnals, Psalters, CD’s, children’s books of Psalm 23, and some images of Psalm verses on jewelry. The idea is for students to reflect on how the psalms are used as poetry, liturgy, music, instruction in prayer, atropaically, etc.
Do readers have other examples that I can add the mix of how Psalms are used?Continue reading