Reversèd Thunder

Friday 28 August 2009

The ‘enormous impact’ of the Psalms upon Western culture will be examined at an international conference in St Andrews starting next week (Monday 31 August 2009).

The event, which will bring artists, biblical scholars, historians, theologians and literary critics from across the globe to St Andrews, is being hosted by the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (ITIA).

Together they will explore the extent of the Psalms’ successful infiltration and occupation of religious and non-religious imagination in the west.

One of the highlights of the event will include a unique opportunity for the public to both to see a rare manuscript, the St Andrews Psalter, and hear all about its significance from a world leading expert.

Professor Trevor Hart, Director of the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts said, “The Psalms have had an enormous impact on western culture over the centuries.

“They have always enjoyed a prominent place in the religious life of the west of course (having a central role in public worship and private devotion alike).”

During the conference (31 August – 3 September, 2009), there will be two public events available to non-delegates, for a small charge payable at the door.

  • On Wednesday 2 September there will be a lecture by Dr Gordon Munro of the Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (Glasgow) on ‘Psalms in Scotland in the 16th and 17th Centuries’, illustrated with music by members of the St Andrews Renaissance Group (7.30pm, Upper College Hall, St Salvator’s Quad.).
  • On Tuesday 1 September, Professor Michelle Brown (University of London), a leading expert on medieval manuscripts, will give a lecture on ‘Picturing Prayer: the St Andrews Psalter and the Psalms in Medieval Illumination’ (5.15pm, Upper College Hall, St Salvator’s Quad.)  The St Andrews Psalter (a fifteenth century illuminated volume) will be on display at this event courtesy of the University’s Department of Special Collections.

Professor Hart continued, “What’s really interesting is the fact that even in the supposedly secular ethos of today the Psalms continue to fascinate people, being taken up and alluded to in all sorts of unexpected contexts.

“In fact, the book of Psalms is almost certainly the most heavily ‘sampled’ biblical text, being drawn on unashamedly by writers, poets, painters, classical composers, rock musicians and lots of others,” he said.

For further information on the event visit:


Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Senior Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email [email protected]
Ref: Psalms 280809
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