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The Psalter According to the Seventy (Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, MA)


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#1 David James

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 01:02 AM

Product Details


  • Hardcover: 300.0 pages
  • Publisher: Holy Transfiguration Monastery; 3rd Printng edition (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0943405009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0943405001
  • Price new: from $32.95
  • Price used: from $19.12
  • Links: amazon.com
  • Description: This is a light-blue cloth heavy-duty hardcover with gold stamping, printed on heavy opaque acid-free paper and smyth-sewn for durability. It contains the complete Book of Psalms from the Bible translated into traditional ecclesiastical English from the 1821 Moscow edition of the Septuagint, divided into kathismata for liturgical use. The psalm numbering follows that of the Septuagint, but not the verse numbering standard, for example, in Slavonic editions. Also included are the nine biblical odes (canticles) from the Septuagint, as well as Psalm 151. Probably the most widely used English Psalter in Orthodox Churches. Its large, clear print and readable layout make it easy on the eyes. Many pages are adorned with monochrome icons or iconographic line drawings by the iconographer, Photios Kontoglou. Red ink is employed to distinguish words not read aloud liturgically. First published in 1974.

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#2 David James

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 09:55 PM

Now in its third printing, this book is well-known to English-speaking Orthodox Christians, as it first appeared fully a generation ago, in 1974, at the dawn of the period when English began to be widely adopted as a liturgical language in Eastern Orthodoxy. It also appeared before the translation of most of the Orthodox Church’s liturgical books into English. Since so much of the liturgical text is comprised of quotations from the Psalms, and many of the translators took pains to conform their translations to this text, its influence has been compounded correspondingly. Like all the publications of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, this book is handsomely designed in a legible font and well printed and bound on high-quality paper. St. Xenia Russian Orthodox Church in Methuen, Massachusetts, has an original edition on its cleros, which has withstood continual use for 35 years and is still in good condition, with an intact binding. Nevertheless, this translation is not much loved. Most people use it because they believe it is more faithful to the Septuagint text than the King James, or the Coverdale text of the Book of Common Prayer. It is that, but not unerringly so, at least in comparison to the Slavonic and Latin, as we shall see below, nor does this Psalter follow the usual verse numbering of Church editions of the Septuagint Psalter in Greek, Latin and Church Slavonic. The book’s main problem is its pedestrian and occasionally opaque translation; for, despite the translators’ claim to “have purposely chosen a style of English following that of the King James version,” they apparently had no ear for the music of the actual King James text, or for the original Coverdale translation that underlies the King James version. Right away, in Ps 1:1, which concludes in the KJ and Coverdale with “in the seat of the scornful,” this translation has, “in the seat of the pestilent,” apparently following the Douai-Rheims [“in the chair of pestilence”]. What exactly does that mean? The Latin (with which Coverdale and the translators of the KJ presumably were familiar) *is* “pestilentia,” but the Slavonic is “gubiteljei” – “of the nasty (or malicious).” It seems the original KJ word would serve just as well – better, even, since it is more familiar. A more problematic example is Ps. 17:30, where “oti en soi risthisomai apo peiratiriou” is translated as “for by Thee shall I be delivered from a host of robbers,” [a possible meaning, in Greek], but since the Latin [a temptatione] and Slavonic [ot iskushenia] both mean “from temptation,” it clearly should be “by Thee shall I be delivered from temptation, which is the first reading in my Greek lexicon, and makes more sense in context. Or how is Ps. 41:2 [Ps. 42:1 in the King James], “Like as the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God,” improved by “As the hart panteth after the fountains of water, so panteth my soul…”? Such examples could be multiplied almost ad infinitum. Pick a psalm, or even a verse, and compare it with the originals. If you are familiar with them, you are liable to be annoyed. A lesser issue, but still an inconvenience, is the omission of the traditional prayers before and after reading the Psalter, as well as the penitential troparia and prayers following the kathismata, which (in the Russian usage, at least) are used when reading the Psalter over the dead at wakes. For these, the observant Orthodox Christian must still search elsewhere.

Edited by David James, 20 June 2009 - 09:57 PM.
corrected a typo


#3 Father David Moser

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 11:33 PM

A lesser issue, but still an inconvenience, is the omission of the traditional prayers before and after reading the Psalter, as well as the penitential troparia and prayers following the kathismata, which (in the Russian usage, at least) are used when reading the Psalter over the dead at wakes. For these, the observant Orthodox Christian must still search elsewhere.


Actually this does exist. The Protection of the Mother of God parish in Rochester NY at one time printed a whole series of liturgical books, including the Psalter, in English and Slavonic (with Russian characters) side by side. The Psalter (English is the Holy Transfiguration translation) includes the troparia and prayers with each Kathisma (translated by Isaac Lambertson). It does not seem to have the Odes, however, and simply lists the scriptural reference to them in one of the appendices.

Fr David Moser

Edited by Father David Moser, 20 June 2009 - 11:34 PM.
clarification


#4 Thomas Carroll

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 05:13 AM

A lesser issue, but still an inconvenience, is the omission of the traditional prayers before and after reading the Psalter, as well as the penitential troparia and prayers following the kathismata, which (in the Russian usage, at least) are used when reading the Psalter over the dead at wakes. For these, the observant Orthodox Christian must still search elsewhere.


Dear brother in Christ David,

I am all but certain that the prayers and troparia to which you refer are absent from the Psalter published by Apostoliki Diakonia (because we are in the middle of moving, it will be a few days before I can confirm this). Do these prayers and troparia have Greek antecedents or are they peculiar to the Slavonic Psalter?

Thomas Carroll

#5 David James

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 05:19 PM

Dear Thomas:

I would be surprised if there is no historical Greek antecedent for the Kathisma prayers in the Slavonic Psalter, but I do not know that for certain. Nevertheless, the Holy Transfiguration Monastery was a part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia when their Psalter was first published, so the omission is glaring. Even if the Kathisma Prayers are not included in modern Church editions of the Greek Psalter, the failure to even mention the existence of these prayers in the introduction [after criticising Fr. Lazarus (Moore) for omitting the Canticles from his translation] is puzzling, since the Slavic use is so widespread in world Orthodoxy, not to mention their own jurisdiction at the time.

David James

Dear brother in Christ David,

I am all but certain that the prayers and troparia to which you refer are absent from the Psalter published by Apostoliki Diakonia (because we are in the middle of moving, it will be a few days before I can confirm this). Do these prayers and troparia have Greek antecedents or are they peculiar to the Slavonic Psalter?

Thomas Carroll


Edited by David James, 21 June 2009 - 05:24 PM.
clarification


#6 John Raffan

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 10:42 PM

Dear Thomas:


I would be surprised if there is no historical Greek antecedent for the Kathisma prayers in the Slavonic Psalter, but I do not know that for certain. Nevertheless, the Holy Transfiguration Monastery was a part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia when their Psalter was first published, so the omission is glaring. Even if the Kathisma Prayers are not included in modern Church editions of the Greek Psalter, the failure to even mention the existence of these prayers in the introduction [after criticising Fr. Lazarus (Moore) for omitting the Canticles from his translation] is puzzling, since the Slavic use is so widespread in world Orthodoxy, not to mention their own jurisdiction at the time.

David James


The Slavonic Kathisma Troparia and Prayers are, of course, a translation of a Greek original. This can be found, e.g. in the Psalter published in Vienna in 1793 which is available on-line at: http://analogion.com/psaltologion/Manouel/Leitoyrgika_Biblia/Kyria/Orthodokses_Ekdoseis/Psalthrion/1793_EN_BIENNH_Ek_ths_Ellhnikhs_Typografias_Gewrgioy_Bentoth_(sel._192-216_eklogarion).PDF
John Raffan

#7 Thomas Carroll

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 03:11 PM

The Slavonic Kathisma Troparia and Prayers are, of course, a translation of a Greek original. This can be found, e.g. in the Psalter published in Vienna in 1793 which is available on-line at: http://analogion.com/psaltologion/Manouel/Leitoyrgika_Biblia/Kyria/Orthodokses_Ekdoseis/Psalthrion/1793_EN_BIENNH_Ek_ths_Ellhnikhs_Typografias_Gewrgioy_Bentoth_(sel._192-216_eklogarion).PDF
John Raffan


Dear brother in Christ John,

Thank you very, very much for bringing this edition of the Psalter to my attention. I very much look forward to studying it. Would you happen to have any knowledge of the historical distribution of this form of the Greek Psalter (i.e., with prayers to be said at the conclusion of each kathisma) relative to that of the form currently published by the Church of Greece (i.e., without these prayers)?

Asking your prayers,
Thomas Carroll

#8 David James

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 06:46 PM

John, I want add my sincere thanks, too. When we were working on A Psalter for Prayer, Nikita Simmons and I searched high and low for the Greek antecedent(s) for the Slavonic texts that are printed after each kathisma in most Church Slavonic psalters, to no avail. So, to finally have them at hand is very exciting. Since the Vienna psalter dates from the end of the 18th century, not really all that long ago, one wonders when and why these troparia fell into such complete desuetude in Greek use.

David James

#9 David James

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 07:02 PM

... A lesser issue, but still an inconvenience, is the omission of the traditional prayers before and after reading the Psalter, as well as the penitential troparia and prayers following the kathismata, which (in the Russian usage, at least) are used when reading the Psalter over the dead at wakes. For these, the observant Orthodox Christian must still search elsewhere.


I need to make a correction here. The troparia following each kathisma are not read when reading the Psalter at wakes. There are different troparia provided for that situation, which can be found in English in A Psalter for Prayer. The troparia printed in the Psalter after each kathisma are used, rather, when reading the Psalter privately as part of one's rule of prayer.

David James

#10 John Raffan

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 01:51 PM

Dear brother in Christ John,

Thank you very, very much for bringing this edition of the Psalter to my attention. I very much look forward to studying it. Would you happen to have any knowledge of the historical distribution of this form of the Greek Psalter (i.e., with prayers to be said at the conclusion of each kathisma) relative to that of the form currently published by the Church of Greece (i.e., without these prayers)?

Asking your prayers,
Thomas Carroll


Dear brother in Christ Thomas,
On the subject of troparia and prayers added to Byzantine Psalters, I would recommend the article ‘Psalters and Personal Piety in Byzantium’ by Georgi Parpulov in The Old Testament in Byzantium, ed. Paul Magdalino and Robert Nelson, 2010 with its extensive bibliography. To this one might add ms. Christ Church Oxford Archbishop Wake gr. 61. The mss. exhibit a great variety of prayers. The earliest of the Psalters with kathismata troparia and prayers dates from the 12th century. How and when the Slavonic prayers became established and ‘traditional’, I do not know. Parpulov mentions 3 printed editions of the Psalter with the kathismata prayers (Snagov, 1700; Leipzig, 1761; Venice, 1780) but not the Vienna Psalter of 1793.
John Raffan

#11 John Raffan

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 04:23 PM

John, I want add my sincere thanks, too. When we were working on A Psalter for Prayer, Nikita Simmons and I searched high and low for the Greek antecedent(s) for the Slavonic texts that are printed after each kathisma in most Church Slavonic psalters, to no avail. So, to finally have them at hand is very exciting. Since the Vienna psalter dates from the end of the 18th century, not really all that long ago, one wonders when and why these troparia fell into such complete desuetude in Greek use.

David James


Dear David James,
If you would drop me an email, I will send you a parallel version of the Slavonic and Greek Troparia for the Psalter.
Best wishes, johnraffan@gmail.com

#12 Father David Moser

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 07:21 PM

Dear David James,
If you would drop me an email, I will send you a parallel version of the Slavonic and Greek Troparia for the Psalter.
Best wishes, johnraffan@gmail.com


Just a reminder to everyone that the Private Message function of the community is an effective way to communicate between members without having to publish your email address publicly.

Fr David




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