David in Medieval and Renaissance Culture
Eighteenth Biennial Barnard College Medieval/Renaissance Conference
New York, December 2002
CALL FOR PAPERS "DAVID IN MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE CULTURE" THE 18TH BIENNIAL BARNARD COLLEGE MEDIEVAL/RENAISSANCE CONFERENCE SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2002 Sweet singer of Israel and "sacred psalmograph" (as he was sometimes called in Renaissance England), King David was also a shepherd and lion-slayer; a courtier forced to fight his royal patron; a king chosen by God but a man of blood whose sins were scarlet; a father whose lament for his rebel son Absolom has moved millions; the friend of his persecutor Saul's son, Jonathan, for whom he felt an affection "surpassing the love of women"; the lover of Bathsheba who sent her husband into battle to die and upon being rebuked by the prophet Nathan lamented in poetry still associated with penitence and self-scrutiny; and the Lord's annointed from whose house, in Christian story, eventually came the Messiah of whom he had been a figure. David's story and accomplishments, to say nothing of his sins, can be found everywhere in Medieval and Renaissance theology, Jewish and Christian biblical scholarship, sculpture, painting, glass, illustration, music, poetry, and the political mythology created by both monarchs and those who flattered or advised them. Translating the psalms was often an act of simple piety but often, too, it was an effort to regain David's mysterious Orphic powers, to merge one's own voice with his (and Christ's), to send a political or theological message, to rival mere pagan poets, and to bypass the cultural restrictions that often threatened to silence women. Singing the psalms was often an act of worship and joy, but also, after the Reformation, an act of defiance and even intimidation. To control and shape psalmody was a matter of religious and political urgency. And, in our own century, to study David and the psalms is to study the dynamic heart of Medieval and Renaissance culture. Abstracts or proposals for 20-minute papers and/or for whole panels on any aspect of David in Medieval and Renaissance culture are welcomed. Please send TWO copies of proposals, abstracts, and/or queries to the conference co-directors: ONE to Professor Anne Lake Prescott & ONE to Professor Paula Loscocco, Department of English, Barnard College, New York, NY 10027. Email submissions to both email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org are equally welcome. Deadline: June 1, 2002.