FREE SUMMER COURSE ON BIBLICAL PSALMS
HOSTED BY THE ECF OFFICE OF THE BYZANTINE CATHOLIC EPARCHY OF PASSAIC
“ON THE STRINGS OF THE HEART”
Biblical Psalms as Literature, Liturgy and Personal Prayer
June, 27th – July, 12th 2020
Registration Link and Instructors page
For over three thousand years Psalms lie at the heart of Israel’s and Church’s worship, both communal and individual. They played central role in the Old Testament Temple, they were used by Jesus himself and his first followers, they are frequently quoted in the New Testament and they form a fundamental framework of Christian Liturgy in both East and West. Over the course of centuries Psalms nourished and inspired myriads of faithful, most prominent of which (saints, preachers, artists and poets) left living testimonies of their personal involvement with these texts. Without a doubt, Psalms can speak to the heart of people in today’s world too and sustain our faith and hope.
This short course includes 10 real-time online meetings (‘webinars’), each consisting of a 30-45 min. video-lecture + Q&A session (the webinars will be recorded and available for later viewing for those who were unable to attend them live). During these meetings we will try to refresh and deepen our reading of the Psalms. We will look at Psalter as a book and at individual Psalms, viewing them at 4 levels:
- contextual (historical – in what context and for what purposes any given Psalm was created and used)
- textual (what exactly is this Psalm about, what are its unique traits, images, ideas and messages)
- ecclesial (what is the specifically Christian reading of this Psalm and its use in Church’s liturgy and tradition)
- personal (how this Psalms speaks to me and what strings of my heart it touches – left mostly for personal reflection and response).
Out of 150 Psalms (or actually 151 in the Byzantine tradition!) we will pick a dozen of the most prominent compositions, some of them well familiar to us from their liturgical use or from being quoted in the New Testament.
Meetings 1-2 will deal with the introductory information about Psalms as a literary phenomenon, their genres, general rules of composition, etc. We will also speak about the ‘Psalter’ as a whole, a ‘prayer/song book’ of ancient Israel and of the early Church. We will reflect on what it means to pray the Psalms and read the Psalms as prophetic texts pointing towards Christ.
Meetings 3-10 will be dedicated to the analysis of individual Psalms, commenting and reflecting on them. We will consider Psalms 1-3, 8, 18, 50, 90, 102-103, and 145-150 (using their liturgical numbering).
In each meeting the instructor will be basing his lecture on a visual PowerPoint presentation, will address participants’ questions and recommend further readings.
Those who wish to obtain academic credits for this course should contact the instructor in order to discuss formal requirements and arrange for some additional course work (required reading, written assignments, and final paper). The maximum of 2 academic credits can be received for this course from the Ukrainian Catholic University (recognized and accepted at most of the US universities and colleges).
Taras Tymo is a PhD candidate in Theology, lecturer of Theology, History of the Church and Patristics at the Ukrainian Catholic University (Lviv, Ukraine). He received his education in Theology, Church History and Classical Languages from the Ukrainian Catholic University (1999), Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium, MA, 2001) and University of Notre Dame (USA, MA, 2006). In 2011-2014 he worked as co-translator and theological editor for a new Ukrainian translation of the Liturgical Psalter. He is also the author of a number of translations of liturgical and patristic texts into Ukrainian.
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