Song of Exile: The Enduring Mystery of Psalm 137 by David W. StoweSong of Exile: The Enduring Mystery of Psalm 137 by David W. Stowe

Song of Exile: The Enduring Mystery of Psalm 137

byDavid W. Stowe

Hardcover | May 15, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info

$12.25 online 
$24.50 list price save 50%
Earn 61 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-3 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Oft-referenced and frequently set to music, Psalm 137 - which begins "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion" - has become something of a cultural touchstone for music and Christianity across the Atlantic world. It has been a top single more thanonce in the 20th century, from Don McLean's haunting Anglo-American folk cover to Boney M's West Indian disco mix. In Song of Exile, David Stowe uses a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary approach that combines personal interviews, historical overview, and textual analysis to demonstrate the psalm'senduring place in popular culture.The line that begins Psalm 137 - one of the most lyrical of the Hebrew Bible - has been used since its genesis to evoke the grief and protest of exiled, displaced, or marginalized communities. Despite the psalm's popularity, little has been written about its reception during the more than 2,500years since the Babylonian exile. Stowe locates its use in the American Revolution and the Civil Rights movement, and internationally by anti-colonial Jamaican Rastafari and immigrants from Ireland, Korea, and Cuba. He studies musical references ranging from the Melodians' Rivers of Babylon to thescore in Kazakh film Tulpan. Stowe concludes by exploring the presence and absence in modern culture of the often-ignored final words: "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." Usually excised from liturgy and forgotten by scholars, Stowe finds these words echoed in modern occurrences ofgenocide and ethnic cleansing, and more generally in the culture of vengeance that has existed in North America from the earliest conflicts with Native Americans.Based on numerous interviews with musicians, theologians, and writers, Stowe reconstructs the rich and varied reception history of this widely used, yet mysterious, text.
David W. Stowe teaches English and Religious Studies at Michigan State University, where he is interim chair of the English Department. His most recent book is No Sympathy for the Devil: Christian Pop Music and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism. His previous book, How Sweet the Sound: Music in the Spiritual Lives of America...
Title:Song of Exile: The Enduring Mystery of Psalm 137Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:May 15, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190466839

ISBN - 13:9780190466831

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

Part One: History1. Mapping History2. Comprehending Migration3. Babylonia4. In Nebuchudnezzar's Court5. By the Kebar6. People of the Land7. Jeremiah8. Lamentations9. Strange Lands10. Existential Exile11. Rivers of Watertown12. Melodious RiversPart Two: Memory13. New World Babylon14. American Jeremiah15. Africa as New Israel16. Echose of Roland Hayes17. Footnotes to C.L. Franklin18. Moses and Jeremiah19. Moses and Jeremiah20. Forcing Memory21. Wood StreetPart Three: Forgetting22. Jedwabne23. Revisiting a Vanished World24. Blaming Victims25. Thirsting for Vengeance26. New World Captivity27. Better Angels28. Holocaust Songs29. Sepulchral Memory30. After ExileNotesBibliographyIndex