Influence of the Psalms in the Renaissance

I continue to be intrigued by the wide-ranging, deep impact of the Psalms across the centuries.  This quote is just one more documenting this impact on the church and the surrounding culture.

“The Renaissance was a cultural movement founded on the enterprise of translation ….  The Earl of Surrey and Richard Stanyhurst translated Virgil’s Aeneid; Arthur Golding and George Sandys translated Ovid’s Metamorphoses; but all four translated the Psalms, as did John Milton, Sir Philip Sydney, the countess of Pembroke, Sir Thomas Wyatt, Sir Francis Bacon, Henry Vaughan, Phinehas Fletcher, and Richard Crashaw.  Virtually every author of the period (Shakespeare, Spenser, Bunyan, Donne, Herbert, and Johnson) translated, paraphrased or alluded to the Psalms in their major works.  In fact, the translation, or ‘Englishing,’ of the biblical Psalms substantially shaped the culture of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, resulting in creative forms as diverse as singing psalters, metrical psalm paraphrases, sophisticated poetic adaptations, meditations, sermons, commentaries, and significant allusions in poems, plays, and literary prose, by English men and women of varied social and intellectual backgrounds…

The Protestant Reformation sanctioned and even demanded vernacular translations of the Bible, but no biblical book was translated more often or more widely in the subsequent two centuries than the Psalms.”

–  Hannibal Hamlin, Psalm Culture and Early Modern English Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2004), 1

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