David, our Orpheus: Reception, Rewritings and Adaptations of the Psalms in Byzantine Poetry.
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. The proposed research will analyze 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. We will explore different kinds of poetical texts selected from different periods, in order to ensure a variety of perspectives. The corpus will include 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 will be constituted by paraphrases of the Psalms in verse from very different periods, which will be studied as examples of interpretation, rewriting and creative appropriation at once