David, our Orpheus. Reception, rewritings and adaptations of the psalms in Byzantine poetry

David, onze Orpheus. Receptie, herschrijvingen en adaptaties van de psalmen in Byzantijnse poëzie
Begin - Einde 
2018 - 2022 (lopend)
Vakgroep Letterkunde
Greek palaeography
Byzantine poetry
Book epigrams



The Psalms, being an important corpus of biblical poetic texts, have influenced the entire history of European literature and religious culture. Early Christian and Byzantine readers recognized the poetical features of the Psalms, and psalmody (i.e. the practice of singing the Psalms in divine worship) was a typical exercise of monastic life. This research project analyzes how the Greek Psalms are reflected in various kinds of late antique and Byzantine poetry. This connection has been overlooked so far but will strongly contribute to an insight into the reception of the Bible in the Middle Ages. 

Different kinds of poetical texts selected from different periods will be explored, in order to ensure a variety of perspectives. The corpus includes metrical paratexts referring to the Psalms, that is: epigrams that praise David (often as the new Orpheus) and his Psalms. These poems are transmitted along with the Psalms themselves and attest to the persistence of a particular poetic taste in the transmission of the biblical text. They will be the object of a monograph, including a critical edition and translation. Another field of investigation is constituted by paraphrases of the Psalms in verse from very different periods, which are studied as examples of interpretation, rewriting and creative appropriation at once.



Postdoctorale medewerker(s)

Externe medewerkers

Reinhart Ceulemans

KU Leuven