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Song of Exile : The Enduring Mystery of Psalm 137 (Hardcover) (David W. Stowe)
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"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion." The line that begins Psalm 137 is one of the most lyrical of the Hebrew Bible, and has been used since its genesis to evoke the grief and protest of exiled, displaced, or marginalized communities. The psalm is most directly a product of the Babylonian exile--the roughly fifty-year period after Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar's army and many of its leading Judeans taken northeast into captivity. Despite the psalm's popularity, little has been written about its reception during the more than 2,500 years since that period.In Babylon Revisited David Stowe addresses this gap using a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary approach that includes textual analysis, historical overview, and a study of the psalm's place in popular culture. Stowe locates its use in the American Revolution and the Civil Rights movement, and internationally by anti-colonial Jamaican Rastafari and immigrants from Ireland, Korea, and Cuba. He studies musical references ranging from the MelodiansRivers of Babylon to the score in Kazakh film Tulpan. Based on numerous interviews with musicians, theologians, and writers, Stowe reconstructs the rich and varied reception history of this widely used, yet mysterious text.The book is broken up into three parts that closely examine each of the psalm's stanzas. Stowe concludes by exploring the often ignored final words: "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." Usually excised from liturgy and forgotten by scholars, Stowe finds these words echoed in modern occurrences of genocide or ethnic cleansing, and more generally in the culture of vengeance that has existed in North America from the earliest conflicts with Native Americans. Exploring the presence and absence of these words in modern culture is the culmination of Stowe's study as he weaves together the fascinating story of how Psalm 137 has both shaped and been shaped by our understanding of violence, pain, oppression, and justice.
Number of Pages: 214
Genre: Religion + Beliefs
Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr
Author: David W. Stowe
Street Date: May 2, 2016
Item Number (DPCI): 248-16-1394
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