By Emma Davis
Lyola Thomas, an English professor from Kristu Jayanti College in Bangalore, India, spoke to students and faculty members on the Book of Psalms and how this poetry can be used in the advancement of literature and biblical studies on Nov. 7 in the International Lounge.
Thomas first spoke about the poets of the Psalms, including David, who wrote 73 psalms about themes of passion for God, honesty and community.
“David himself had a lot of terrible experiences in life, which made him always turn to God … David never held back, and he was very human and honest with his feelings,” Thomas said.
Thomas also spoke about Moses, who was another poet of the Psalms. Moses wrote Psalm 90, which is known as the oldest psalm.
Thomas said, “The wisdom of (Psalm 90) is to make every moment count.”
Thomas defined six types of postmodernism in the Psalms: populism, multiple stories, reader participation, bricolage, playfulness and self-referential.
“Populism is an approach that appeals to the concerns and interests of ordinary people,” Thomas said.
“Multiple stories are that each psalm can be seen as a self-contained story or self-reflection on various aspects of the human-divine relationship. Reader participation is seen in blurring of boundaries between author, text and reader,” Thomas continued.
“Bricolage is the creation of a narrative or text by combining and reusing diverse elements from different sources. Playfulness is a dance and joyful worship is a dominant theme. Self-referential is a work that mentions or describes itself,” said Thomas.
Thomas explained that these types of postmodernism can be used to learn what the Psalms can teach us about our own faith and about the world around us.
Thomas said that the world is self-centered and people rely on themselves whereas the Bible teaches to be God-centered and to rely on God.
Thomas then discussed the words most often found in the Psalms and how reading the Psalms helps us grow in our relationship with God.
“If you look at the word count, you have 802 words for the word ‘I’, which tells us how reader participation is so important in reading the Psalms.”
Thomas concluded by saying, “Study the Psalms because it helps build character and it leads you to a real successful life … and to leave a legacy with God.”