The biblical Psalms are considered texts that bring solace and peace in difficult times. One thinks of the Twenty-third Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd…,” and may immediately feel comforted by the familiar, “He leadeth me beside still waters, my cup overflows.” But how do we handle the texts in Psalms that seek vengeance on another, that implore God to smite the enemy? What do we make of such alienating language as “Let burning coals fall upon them! Let them be cast into pits, no more to rise!” (Psalm 140)
Dr. Patricia K. Tull, professor of Old Testament at Louisville Seminary, will speak on the challenges of the Psalms in her address, “Let Evil Speedily Hunt Down the Violent”: Reflections on Troubling Psalms in Turbulent Times,
part of the Seminary’s opening convocation of the of the 152nd academic year.
The convocation service, a free event open to the public, will be held September 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel.
Tull, who is currently writing on a book on preaching the Psalms, as well as two works on the book of Isaiah, has chosen a timely topic in the midst of the world's current climate of religious vengeance and sacred war. She asks what the “disturbing but inescapable presence of imprecatory language in the Psalms might teach us about violence and its results, about the human condition, and about responsible biblical interpretation around these issues for Christians struggling with war and violence in our own day.”
Patricia Tull studied literature and foreign language education before pursuing seminary. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), she served in parish ministry prior to joining the faculty of Louisville Seminary in 1994.
“Louisville Seminary provides a rich environment for men and women who desire to explore Christian ministry, and faith itself, in all its depth and complexity,” says Tull. “The critical question that influences my teaching is ‘What is scripture to us?’ How do we hear God’s word through such a text, that is compelling and sophisticated, and at the same time often foreign and strange?”
Tull’s teaching responsibilities include a January middle-east travel seminar entitled “History, Religion, and Culture in the Land of the Bible.” This seminar offers course credit for students, but pastors, graduates, and other friends of the Seminary are encouraged to participate as well. Individuals who are interested in this course may contact Dr. Tull
Tull’s expertise in narrative and poetic exegesis, intertextuality, and Jewish-Christian relations are reflected in her publications: Remember the Former Things: The Recollection of Previous Texts in Second Isaiah
(Scholars Press, 1997); Esther’s Feast
(Horizons Bible Study for the Presbyterian Women of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 2001-2002); Esther and Ruth, Interpretation Bible Study Series
(Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), and chapters in a variety of works on biblical interpretation, including the Women’s Bible Commentary
(ed. Carol Newsom and Sharon Ringe, 1998); To Each Its Own Meaning: An Introduction to Biblical Criticisms and their Application
(ed. Steven McKenzie and Stephen Haynes, 1999); and Strange Fire: Reading the Hebrew Bible after the Holocaust
(ed. Tod Linafelt, 2000).
Outside of the Seminary, Tull teaches in her church and preaches in local congregations. She serves on the Ordination Exam Committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and on the editorial board of the Journal of Biblical Literature.
For more information about this and other Seminary events, contact the Office of Communications at 502.895.3411, ext. 362, or e-mail email@example.com