BIBL3209H: Tehilim and the Human Condition
MetadataShow full item record
SCW syllabus / YU only
This course will cover the authorship, canonization, style, and significance of Sefer Tehillim and the central position it has come to occupy in Jewish thought and practice. Using classical meforshim, we will come to understand the literary features and distinct genres (including mizmor, shir, maskil, etc) of the timeless biblical text at the core of personal and collective religious expression from the Temple era until today. In addition to Tehilim’s lyrical texture, we will examine the range of human emotions voiced in its carefully crafted chapters— from grief to gratitude, desire to despair, anger to atonement, and shame to salvation— as well as its unique capacity to furnish wisdom and exert theurgic influence over divine decrees as laid out in rabbinic literature and midrashim. In accordance with the Straus Center mission, we will conclude our course by surveying the reception and appropriation of Tehilim in Western culture. The particularism of Israel’s experience encapsulated in the Psalms has found universal appeal and applicability in various communities and contexts. From Renaissance poetry to American abolition to international diplomacy, individuals and institutions have been turning to Tehilim for evocative imagery and moral inspiration for centuries and continue to do so today.
Trapedo, Shaina. (2022, Spring), Syllabus, BIBL3209H: Tehilim and the Human Condition, Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.