Julia Reinhard Lupton is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine. A Shakespeare scholar, her research interests include religious studies, Jewish studies, and humanities and the public sphere. As co-director of the New Swan Shakespeare Center, she is a frequent teacher in the community, often bringing Shakespeare and scripture together. As Interim Director of the University of California Humanities Institute, she is overseeing an initiative on Refuge and Its Refusals.
Images of imprisonment appear throughout the Psalter, where the psalmist turns to God as refuge in order to exit the pit of despair. Similar to the life of Omar Ibn Said, and the opera which tells his story, images of shelter and succor help the psalmist escape the abyss of embattlement, imprisonment, or depression, and nurture the attitudes of care, trust, and hope that crest in Psalm 146 and the Hallelujah psalms.