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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 anneprescott@hotmail.com and
ploscocco@barnard.edu are equally welcome.  Deadline:  June 1, 2002.