Biblical Psalms, Marian Psalms

The Biblical Psalms have been central to both Jewish and Christian devotional practice during most of the history of those two religions. The Psalms were at the center of both Christian monastic liturgical practice and had a very important role in the daily Synagogue liturgy. Psalms were often memorized by pious Jews and Christians alike. Psalters were some of the most popular of medieval books. Latter after the Protestant Reformation the Biblical Psalms still played an important role. Of course the Psalms were prominent within the English Book of Common Prayer and played an important role within many other Protestant denominations.

However my sense is that during the second half of the 20th century, certainly within the increasingly post Christian Europe and within the United States the Biblical Psalms have become much less popular and central. For example within the realm of liberal Protestant Christianity, many aspects of the Bible itself have become to an increasing degree an embarrassment to liberal Christian sensitivities. Liberal Christians are no longer interested in such doctrines as hell, the exclusive salvation by faith in Christ and to a great degree they no longer believe that the Christian scriptures are inspired by God in all of its parts. As a result they no longer study the Bible with the same fervor as Fundamentalists. Of course given the nature of some of the above stated doctrines I can understand some of their reluctance. And while I have never been a part of the Jewish community my understanding is that Judaism has been undergoing a similar process.

Of course within the alternative Non-Abrahamic religious communities and philosophies which have developed within the past half century such as Wicca, other forms of Neopaganism, and the New Age there is no interest in the Abrahamic scriptures and certainly not in its Psalms. And the fact is that since I am no longer a Christian I do not use the Davidic Psalms in my devotional life in spite of the fact that I am well aware of their great beauty and value. What I do use however in my devotional life is a group of psalms adopted for my own use from Medieval Marian Psalter which was composed by the Roman Catholic St. Bonaventure in 13th Century Medieval Europe. Of course these Psalms, to a significant degree inspired by the great Biblical Psalms of the Bible, were devotions addressed to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. I feel enabled to use these because I as do many other modern persons believe the Virgin Mary functioned as a de-facto Christian goddess during the Medieval period. Thus I believe that what has been dedicated to Mary can also be seen as dedicated to Dea, God the Mother.

In the next several posts within this blog, I intend to explore some of what I believe is of significance about these Psalms of Thea as I call my sellection. Many more will be added to my sellection as time passes. I intend to explore some of the significant themes found within them. I hope by doing this to attempt to communicate some of what I view as being their great value to others. I of course started this post with the presentation of some ideas regarding the Biblical Psalms not the Marian Psalms. I did this because to understand the possible roles and significance of the Marian Psalms it helps to understand their relationship with the Biblical Psalms. So to a certain degree a positive portrayal of the Marian Psalms is also a positive portrayal of the Biblical Psalms. I have not problem with this at all. It would behoove the Abrahamic religions of both Judaism and Christianity not to forget the important spiritual legacy of their own Book of Psalms.

Glenn

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