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'A Psalter for Prayer': Comments and corrections


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#1 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:13 PM

Dear readers and community members;

The release of A Psalter for Prayer (ed. David Mitchell James) by Holy Trinity Publications last year has been widely and well received, and I have benefitted from having been given a copy shortly after the volume's publication. Given that it is an edition 'for prayer', as its title suggests, I have been hesitant to comment much upon it, as I felt it necessary to use the volume for some time, to see how well it can be employed for the divine services of the Church and for the kind of liturgical prayer that forms the bedrock of Orthodox life (taking as a given that it can also be employed for personal prayer / individual reading, etc.).

We have been using the edition now, more or less consistently, for all our English-language services in which the psalter is employed, and perhaps it is time to begin consolidating various notes on the strong points, weaknesses, need for corrections, etc., of the volume.

My overarching impression is that it is a good volume, basically well suited to liturgical usage (though there need to be some corrections and changes; more on these to follow). I am happy that it has been published. The language is the elegant and largely beautiful English of the old Coverdale 1535 edition. What I have not yet done is compare the version here to the original Greek of the Septuagint (simply as I have not had time), so I've yet to make any study as to whether it truly has been adapted suitably along the lines of the editor's stated intention:

[...] fidelity to the Septuagint text of the Greek original, which is the official text of the Orthodox Church, has been the chief concern. (pp. 11, 12)


I'm sure a substantial amount of work has gone into this, and when time permits it will be interesting to examine the edition alongside the Septuagint sources and see what has been done in terms of adapting and modifying Coverdale; however, I must acknowledge a concern even before venturing into that task, grounded in Mr James's statement, just following the above-quoted line, that 'for that reason, this new text has bee carefully compared to the Septuagint Greek of Alfred Rahlfs', as well as St Jerome's edition and the Slavonic Psalter (cf. p. 12) -- my concern here mainly being that the Rahlfs edition is a scholarly assemblage of academic re-constitution of Septuagintal textual history, and in many places does not reflect the Septuagint text as employed by the Orthodox Church (this was a weakness with the approach of the Orthodox Study Bible: Old Testament translation effort also, given that Rahlfs was taken as the basis by many of the translators).

That concern stated, however, I would rather focus on points I've been able to address more concretely, mainly concerning the form, layout and structure of the volume. We have here a very good resource -- and one which I hope that in future editions can be made even stronger.

I invite all who have been exploring this volume to contribute thoughts here.

INXC, Fr Irenei

#2 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:19 PM

My first criticism of the volume is its lack of a section that provides the Six Psalms (as read at matins) in a discrete, single section. Of course, all of these psalms are provided, in situ, within the Psalter as a whole; but the fact of the Six Psalms being a regular part of every weekly cycle (and indeed, in cathedrals and monasteries, the daily cycle) of worshipping life, means that having these provided together is a necessity for functional use.

Especially as the volume provides so many other resources (the biblical odes, the prayers before reading the psalter, the canon for the departure of the soul, the order of the twelve psalms, etc.), it seems rather odd that the most commonly prayed extraction of the Psalter, the Six Psalms, is not provided.

This seems a necessary addition to a revised version, if the volume is to become truly useful to parishes.

Mr Edward Mansager, a teacher at the St John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy, has compiled a small paper booklet constituting the Six Psalms (with introduction, the refrains, etc.) drawn from this volume, for our local usage in our brotherhood and parish. Perhaps his efforts might be contributed to a revised version.

#3 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:38 PM

My second note for correction is one that has become more evident during Great Lent, when the biblical canticles are used more routinely at matins -- and this is that, in the volume, the versification of these canticles does not always match the versification of the liturgical usage found in either the Russian Orthodox Church (as in the Church Abroad's service books), or in the Greek service books.

The disparities I have noticed thus far are these:

Biblical Canticle Three:

Midway through this canticle (p. 281), the versification makes an extra division not found in either the Slavonic or Greek service books:

The Lord killeth, and maketh alive; He bringeth down to hell, and bringeth up.

The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich; He bringeth low, and lifteth up.

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill,

To seat him with the mighty of the people...


I have highlighted in boldface font the versification which is problematic. In order for the versification to match the usage of the Slavonic and Greek service books for the insertion of troparia, it should be as follows:

The Lord killeth, and maketh alive; He bringeth down to hell, and bringeth up.

The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich; He bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill,

To seat him with the mighty of the people...


This effectively makes the canticle one verse shorter, which matches the liturgical usage.

Biblical Canticle Four:

In the second half of the canticle, in which the troparia from the menaia and Triodion begin to be interspersed, verses currently appear in the volume (p. 284) versified in the following way:

Thou didst lay death upon the heads of the lawless; Thou didst bind their neck with fetters at the end.

Thou didst strike through with their staves the heads of the mighty that came out as a whirlwind to scatter me; their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly.

Thou didst walk through the sea with Thine horses, through the heap of great waters.

I watched, and my belly trembled at the voice of the quiverings of my lips; rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble, and that I might come up to the people of my sojourning.

For the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines.
...


According to the service books of the Church (and the ordering of the insertion of troparia from those books), the versification should be as follows:

Thou didst lay death upon the heads of the lawless; Thou didst bind their neck with fetters at the end.

Thou didst strike through with their staves the heads of the mighty that came out as a whirlwind to scatter me; their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly.

Thou didst walk through the sea with Thine horses, through the heap of great waters.

I watched, and my belly trembled at the voice of the quiverings of my lips;

Rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself

That I might rest in the day of trouble, and that I might come up to the people of my sojourning.


For the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines.
...


Note how this versification effectively adds two more verses to the canticle, which are required if the fourteen troparia from the menaion and two Triodion canons are to be inserted from the starting point indicated by the Slavonic and Greek service books (that is, with the irmos of the menaion coming immediately after the verse 'Thou didst lay death upon the heads of the lawless...'). With the versification as it is currently provided in A Psalter for Prayer, one runs out of verses before the full measure of hymns -- or one has to begin inserting the troparia earlier in the canticle than is indicated by the service books.

Biblical Canticle Five:

A similar issue occurs toward the end of the fifth canticle, which includes the following versification (p. 286):

Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs, so have we become in the sight of Thy beloved.

For fear of Thee, O Lord, we have been with child, we have been in pain, we have brought forth the spirit of Thy salvation, which we have wrought in the earth; we shall not fall, but all the inhabitants of the world shall fall.

The dead shall arise, and they that lie in the tomb shall awake, and they that dwell in dust shall rejoice;

...


Once again, the boldface portion represents a versification that does not match the service books, in which the text should be versified as follows:

Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs, so have we become in the sight of Thy beloved.

For fear of Thee, O Lord, we have been with child, we have been in pain, we have brought forth the spirit of Thy salvation, which we have wrought in the earth;

We shall not fall, but all the inhabitants of the world shall fall.


The dead shall arise, and they that lie in the tomb shall awake, and they that dwell in dust shall rejoice;

...


Edited by Archimandrite Irenei, 09 March 2012 - 11:55 PM.
Corrected typos


#4 Michael Astley

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:21 AM

Having assisted Fr Andrew Phillips with his sluzhebnik for the Episcopal Divine Liturgy, I am aware of just how much scrutiny, checking, and re-checking this went through. Yet, even after we had checked and re-checked, correcting textual and rubrical errors found along the way and clarifying things that we had perhaps assumed would be apparent, Archbishop Mark would not give his blessing for it to be published until he had checked over it himself and also had it sent to various other people appointed by him, which revealed many things that we had initially missed, further refining the work before anybody got to read it.

I am not saying that the book will be free from error (indeed, I have noticed one since publication), for this sluzhebnik, David James' psalter, and any work of this nature will be prone to human error, which does not in any way denigrate the labour of service and love that the authors/compilers put into it, for which they are to be thanked and commended. However, I am surprised that mistakes of this nature were able to bypass the sort of scrutiny that I would assume any proposed liturgical publication would be put through before a bishop would be willing to give his blessing to it. Is the sort of external "vetting" I described above not a usual insistence of our bishops?

M

#5 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:40 AM

Dear Michael,

I am not certain I would call the two items I have pointed out thus far 'mistakes', per se; rather, they are areas that I think need to be improved upon if the volume is really to prove useful more broadly.

For example, most Slavonic editions of the Psalter do not include the Six Psalms as an item in their contents, nor do most Greek psalters -- so not having one in this English edition, which to some degree is modelled on those volumes and their contents, isn't really a 'mistake'. However, those volumes can assume that the psalms found within them are found in their same form in the service books of the Church (given that there is a fairly uniform version of the psalter in Greek and in Slavonic), and so there is no need to reprint the Six Psalms given that every service book for matins contains them. This volume, by contrast, cannot assume that, since it is the only volume that contains these versions -- so in this circumstance the addition of the Six Psalms strikes me as a necessary addition for a future revision.

The issue of the versification of the of the biblical canticles is somewhat different, as I am not certain what precedent was being followed for the versification employed in the volume; but it certainly isn't the versification that matches liturgical usage.

INXC, Fr Irenei

#6 Michael Astley

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:46 AM

Thank you, Father Irinei.

It was more the versification that I had in mind, although I didn't express this properly. My question was really to do with uniformity or otherwise of episcopal requirement for satisfaction before giving blessing to a publication, which I perhaps ought not to have to raised on this thread, which is about the psalter. I'm sorry for the tangent.

In Christ,
Michael

#7 David James

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 12:30 PM

Dear Fr. Irinei:

Thank you for these corrections! I can't imagine what I was thinking at the time I made those mistakes, since I tried very carefully, in general, to emulate the versification of the 1959 Jordanville Church Slavonic edition that served as my template. Oh, well. I will add these notes to my list of errata and corrigenda for the next edition.

BTW, I have two documents, one for the Six Psalms and one for the Psalms of the Hours, in MSWord format that I have been e-mailing to people upon request. They are formatted so that, if printed on 8.5 x 11 paper, they can be folded down into a 5.5 x 8.5 booklet. There was discussion of printing these and bundling them with the main Psalter, but nothing came of it.

I look forward to your further comments with a bit of fear and trepidation, but, mainly, I am happy that this translation is finally being vetted in a monastic setting, and that a better Psalter will emerge as a result.

Sincerely,
David James

#8 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 07:42 PM

Dear in the Lord, David,

Thank you for your kind reply, and for not taking my comments negatively -- but rather, precisely as the kind of constructive criticism they were intended to be. I am fundamentally very happy with this work; the attention paid to detail is a sign of hope for future strengthening, etc.

I shall continue to post notes and comments as I am able; and I do invite others to do the same.

As to the Six Psalms: I'm glad to hear of your supplement. I haven't seen yours, but you might wish to be in contact with the Mr Mansager I mentioned previously: his is also a foldable booklet that tries (and succeeds) in mirroring the style and layout of your fuller volume, with decorative first letters, etc.

INXC, fr Irenei

#9 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 07:49 PM

I hesitate to make what is something of a nit-picking point of layout/formatting; but in the spirit of drawing attention to things that I think could be improved upon in a future edition:

I find the typesetting of the exclamations at the end of each stasis (Glory... Both now... Alleluia (x3)... Etc) to be a minor annoyance in that they are not more clearly off-set from the text of the psalms themselves: there is no noticeable extra spacing or indentation, or coloured rubric, to clearly set these apart from the psalm verses. Visually this means (and I have noticed this now routinely, both myself and with others reading) that the imminent ending of the psalm is not visually spotted in advance whilst reading, and so the reader finds himself suddenly saying 'Glory...' without having registered the clear ending of the psalm.

Again, this is a minor point, but the ease of clear and careful reading could be improved if these exclamations could be slightly more clearly separated from the Scriptural text -- perhaps by a left-side indentation of a few points; or italicisation; or prefacing them in red (as is often done in the Slavonic psalters), or something of the sort.

INXC, Fr Irenei

#10 David James

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:05 PM

... I must acknowledge a concern even before venturing into that task, grounded in Mr James's statement, just following the above-quoted line, that 'for that reason, this new text has been carefully compared to the Septuagint Greek of Alfred Rahlfs', as well as St Jerome's edition and the Slavonic Psalter (cf. p. 12) -- my concern here mainly being that the Rahlfs edition is a scholarly assemblage of academic re-constitution of Septuagintal textual history, and in many places does not reflect the Septuagint text as employed by the Orthodox Church (this was a weakness with the approach of the Orthodox Study Bible: Old Testament translation effort also, given that Rahlfs was taken as the basis by many of the translators).


INXC, Fr Irenei


Dear Fr. Irinei:

I chose the Rahlfs text based largely on the following comments from the Translators' Introduction to The Psalter According to the Seventy, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, MA:

"In the Septuagint Psalter, however, the textual differences [in the variants of the Greek Old Testament manuscript tradition] are slight, as Alfred Rahlfs bears witness in his critical edition of the translation of the Seventy [...] It was gratifying to see that Rahlfs' edition, the best of the non-Orthodox Christian critical editions of the Septuagint, attests to the accuracy and careful scholarship of the best of the Orthodox Church's printed texts of the Greek Old Testament, i.e., the famous Moscow Edition of 1821 [...] What is truly lamentable, and indeed inexcusable, is the fact that the modern editions published in Greece - where countless theologians and scholars of the Greek Language are readily available - are so replete with errors, including misspellings, and the repetition, misplacement or even total omission of whole verses. This too has made us come to appreciate the value of the Moscow Edition."


I was not able to find a copy of this Moscow Edition. In fact, about the only thing I could find about that book was this comment by Dr. Albert Pietersma, in his article, "Translating the Septuagint Psalms", p. 7:

"To what extent the Moscow Edition of 1821 is a critical edition of the Byzantine text, depends on just how broad its manuscript base is. Dr. Seppo Sipila,however, reports that the edition is essentially a reprint of Friedrich Grabe's 1709 edition of MS Alexandrinus."


Taking these statements into consideration, I opted to use the Rahlfs text for the Greek, reasoning that comparison to the Latin and Church Slavonic texts, as well as the English translations of Boston and Michael Asser, would keep this adaptation in line with the Psalter as used in the Orthodox Church.

That was the goal, in any case, and I will be interested - in due time - to learn your assessment of the degree to which it was achieved.

In XC,
David James

#11 Ryan

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 03:14 AM

A very minor quibble I had: the phrase "safe haven" occasionally appears in this Psalter. I don't believe this was in the original Coverdale psalms... in any case, it's a redundant phrase which I think is used too much in contemporary discourse.

#12 David James

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:21 PM

A very minor quibble I had: the phrase "safe haven" occasionally appears in this Psalter. I don't believe this was in the original Coverdale psalms... in any case, it's a redundant phrase which I think is used too much in contemporary discourse.


The phrase "safe haven" is used twice - Ps 30:4 and Ps 70:3 - to translate прибежище (η καταφυγη, refugium). In both cases, it replaces the Coverdale word, "castle". It is not redundant:


[h=1]safe haven noun[/h][usually singular]

[h=2]Definition[/h]
a place where you are protected from harm or danger. As long as the UN soldiers were present, the city was regarded as a safe haven for the refugees.

(Definition of safe haven noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

#13 David James

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 03:40 PM

I hesitate to make what is something of a nit-picking point of layout/formatting; but in the spirit of drawing attention to things that I think could be improved upon in a future edition:

I find the typesetting of the exclamations at the end of each stasis (Glory... Both now... Alleluia (x3)... Etc) to be a minor annoyance in that they are not more clearly off-set from the text of the psalms themselves: there is no noticeable extra spacing or indentation, or coloured rubric, to clearly set these apart from the psalm verses. Visually this means (and I have noticed this now routinely, both myself and with others reading) that the imminent ending of the psalm is not visually spotted in advance whilst reading, and so the reader finds himself suddenly saying 'Glory...' without having registered the clear ending of the psalm.

Again, this is a minor point, but the ease of clear and careful reading could be improved if these exclamations could be slightly more clearly separated from the Scriptural text -- perhaps by a left-side indentation of a few points; or italicisation; or prefacing them in red (as is often done in the Slavonic psalters), or something of the sort.

INXC, Fr Irenei


Good feedback. Another formatting issue that bears serious reconsideration is use of Hebrew letters instead of verse numbers for the acrostic psalms. John Harwood, who wrote the review in Sourozh Magazine, raised this issue with me privately and I, too, find them distracting. The exception would be Psalm 118, because a number of commentators, Origen and St. Theophan the Recluse in particular, write of the Hebrew letters and their relationship to the overall theme of Ps. 118.

David James

#14 David James

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 04:51 PM

Having assisted Fr Andrew Phillips with his sluzhebnik for the Episcopal Divine Liturgy, I am aware of just how much scrutiny, checking, and re-checking this went through. Yet, even after we had checked and re-checked, correcting textual and rubrical errors found along the way and clarifying things that we had perhaps assumed would be apparent, Archbishop Mark would not give his blessing for it to be published until he had checked over it himself and also had it sent to various other people appointed by him, which revealed many things that we had initially missed, further refining the work before anybody got to read it.

I am not saying that the book will be free from error (indeed, I have noticed one since publication), for this sluzhebnik, David James' psalter, and any work of this nature will be prone to human error, which does not in any way denigrate the labour of service and love that the authors/compilers put into it, for which they are to be thanked and commended. However, I am surprised that mistakes of this nature were able to bypass the sort of scrutiny that I would assume any proposed liturgical publication would be put through before a bishop would be willing to give his blessing to it. Is the sort of external "vetting" I described above not a usual insistence of our bishops?

M


Dear Michael:

If you have been through the process of proof-reading and fact-checking, then you are well aware of just how frustrating and error-prone the process is. The human eye sees what it expects to see, oftentimes. And, certainly, Metropolitan Hilarion and Bishop Jerome (not to mention Archimandrite Luke) are as conscientious concerning their approvals of liturgical publications as I am sure Archbishop Mark is. Why would one think otherwise? Not only did I personally check and re-check the manuscript hundreds of times, but my friends, Dr. Constantine Desrosiers, second priest at St. Xenia Church in Methuen, MA, and a retired professor of Latin and Greek at the University of New Hampshire, and the reader Robert Stauffer, also of St. Xenia's, who majored in Biblical Hebrew and Greek at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, also thoroughly proofread the text, not to mention Holy Trinity Publications' own panel of experts. Copies of the final manuscript were also given to every Bishop of the Church Abroad for review before final approval for publication. And, as you know, I circulated the first draft widely, in the hopes of uncovering problems.

Nevertheless, nothing is perfect this side of Heaven, and errors still found their way into the printed edition. As well, nothing reveals mistakes and problems like actual use in the services, as we have already seen from Fr. Irinei's comments. Besides the versification issues in the Canticles which he brought to our attention, the list of errors that I know of is, so far, blessedly short:


  • pp. 52 and 295 (Prayers Before and After Reading the Psalter), in the first troparion after the Lord's Prayer, "Have mercy upon me, O God..." should be "Have mercy upon me, O Lord..." to agree with the Greek, Latin and Slavonic [this is a quote of Ps. 122:3]
  • pp. 52 and 295, again. The second troparion on p. 295 needs to be edited to match the version on p. 52 (the correct phrase in question is "to be as heaven")
  • Ps 11:2 "...for truth hath minished..." should be "...for truth is minished..."
  • Ps 77:15; 86:6; 96:2; 96:9; 107:4; 148:11 - "people" should be "peoples"
  • Ps 77:71 "Jacob His people..." should be "Jacob His servant..."
  • Ps. 88:16 "Blessed are the people..." should be "Blessed is the people..."
  • Ps. 101:5 "I have been smitten down like grass, and withered..." should be "I have been smitten down like grass, and my heart is withered..."
  • p. 313, in the Selected Psalm, about a third of the way down (67:9a) "...the heavens dropped at..." should be "the heavens dropped rain at..."
  • p. 316, bottom of the page: 2nd verse of the Selected Psalm for August 6: 1446:6b should be 146:6b

David James

Edited by David James, 12 March 2012 - 04:52 PM.
to correct a typo


#15 Ryan

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 06:14 PM

The phrase "safe haven" is used twice - Ps 30:4 and Ps 70:3 - to translate прибежище (η καταφυγη, refugium). In both cases, it replaces the Coverdale word, "castle". It is not redundant:


[h=1]safe haven noun[/h][usually singular]

[h=2]Definition[/h]
a place where you are protected from harm or danger. As long as the UN soldiers were present, the city was regarded as a safe haven for the refugees.

(Definition of safe haven noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)


Here is the definition of "haven," according to the same dictionary: "a safe or peaceful place." So, yes, "safe haven" is redundant.

#16 David James

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:35 PM

... nothing is perfect this side of Heaven, and errors still found their way into the printed edition. As well, nothing reveals mistakes and problems like actual use in the services, as we have already seen from Fr. Irinei's comments. Besides the versification issues in the Canticles which he brought to our attention, the list of errors that I know of is, so far, blessedly short:


  • pp. 52 and 295 (Prayers Before and After Reading the Psalter), in the first troparion after the Lord's Prayer, "Have mercy upon me, O God..." should be "Have mercy upon me, O Lord..." to agree with the Greek, Latin and Slavonic [this is a quote of Ps. 122:3]
  • pp. 52 and 295, again. The second troparion on p. 295 needs to be edited to match the version on p. 52 (the correct phrase in question is "to be as heaven")
  • Ps 11:2 "...for truth hath minished..." should be "...for truth is minished..."
  • Ps 77:15; 86:6; 96:2; 96:9; 107:4; 148:11 - "people" should be "peoples"
  • Ps 77:71 "Jacob His people..." should be "Jacob His servant..."
  • Ps. 88:16 "Blessed are the people..." should be "Blessed is the people..."
  • Ps. 101:5 "I have been smitten down like grass, and withered..." should be "I have been smitten down like grass, and my heart is withered..."
  • p. 313, in the Selected Psalm, about a third of the way down (67:9a) "...the heavens dropped at..." should be "the heavens dropped rain at..."
  • p. 316, bottom of the page: 2nd verse of the Selected Psalm for August 6: 1446:6b should be 146:6b

David James


I have been informed that the electronic version of A Psalter for Prayer is now available from IPG (Independent Publishers Group - the wholesale distributor). The errata mentioned above have been corrected in this edition. Here is the link

http://www.ipgbook.c...80884651888.php

Note: You have to click on the pull-down menu on the "Book Type" box to see the electronic formats available. Due to unresolved discussions with Amazon.com, the kindle version is delayed, but it will become available over the next few days at most other e-book retailers. I downloaded the E-Pub version and it works fine on both my iPhone and my iPad.

#17 Patrick

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 08:12 PM

Dear Michael:

If you have been through the process of proof-reading and fact-checking, then you are well aware of just how frustrating and error-prone the process is. The human eye sees what it expects to see, oftentimes. And, certainly, Metropolitan Hilarion and Bishop Jerome (not to mention Archimandrite Luke) are as conscientious concerning their approvals of liturgical publications as I am sure Archbishop Mark is. Why would one think otherwise? Not only did I personally check and re-check the manuscript hundreds of times, but my friends, Dr. Constantine Desrosiers, second priest at St. Xenia Church in Methuen, MA, and a retired professor of Latin and Greek at the University of New Hampshire, and the reader Robert Stauffer, also of St. Xenia's, who majored in Biblical Hebrew and Greek at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, also thoroughly proofread the text, not to mention Holy Trinity Publications' own panel of experts. Copies of the final manuscript were also given to every Bishop of the Church Abroad for review before final approval for publication. And, as you know, I circulated the first draft widely, in the hopes of uncovering problems.

Nevertheless, nothing is perfect this side of Heaven, and errors still found their way into the printed edition. As well, nothing reveals mistakes and problems like actual use in the services, as we have already seen from Fr. Irinei's comments. Besides the versification issues in the Canticles which he brought to our attention, the list of errors that I know of is, so far, blessedly short:


  • pp. 52 and 295 (Prayers Before and After Reading the Psalter), in the first troparion after the Lord's Prayer, "Have mercy upon me, O God..." should be "Have mercy upon me, O Lord..." to agree with the Greek, Latin and Slavonic [this is a quote of Ps. 122:3]
  • pp. 52 and 295, again. The second troparion on p. 295 needs to be edited to match the version on p. 52 (the correct phrase in question is "to be as heaven")
  • Ps 11:2 "...for truth hath minished..." should be "...for truth is minished..."
  • Ps 77:15; 86:6; 96:2; 96:9; 107:4; 148:11 - "people" should be "peoples"
  • Ps 77:71 "Jacob His people..." should be "Jacob His servant..."
  • Ps. 88:16 "Blessed are the people..." should be "Blessed is the people..."
  • Ps. 101:5 "I have been smitten down like grass, and withered..." should be "I have been smitten down like grass, and my heart is withered..."
  • p. 313, in the Selected Psalm, about a third of the way down (67:9a) "...the heavens dropped at..." should be "the heavens dropped rain at..."
  • p. 316, bottom of the page: 2nd verse of the Selected Psalm for August 6: 1446:6b should be 146:6b

David James


I tried to go through my copy and correct it. But on some of the verses listed above, I can't find where it needs correction. Ps 77:15, 96:2, 96:9 I cannot find people in the selected verses, so I can't change it to peoples.

Also, I have a question about the opening. It says Come let us worship and bow down before...
I always thought that this was a reference (or quote) from Ps. 94:6 which reads O come, let us worship and fall down before Him
Am I thinking wrong, or is this a typo?

Thank you.

#18 Joseph A.

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 01:03 AM

Please forgive me if I don’t understand the conventions of old English grammar and usage.

Just as we use the word "a" in front of a word that begins with a consonant (e.g. a fish), and "an" in front of a word that begins with a vowel (e.g. an apple), so too I've seen that "my" and "Thy" are used before a word with a consonant (e.g. my fish, Thy grace) and "mine" and "Thine" are used before words with a vowel (e.g. mine eyes, Thine eye). In addition, England-English rules treat the letter "h" most often as a vowel because they don't pronounce that sound, instead pronouncing the vowel sound after it (e.g. an honourable man). This is why "an historical sketch" would be considered by some to be correct usage. But because American English puts more pronunciation emphasis on the letter "h," it can be considered a consonant.


If I'm understanding all of this correctly, there are a number of inconsistencies with how these rules are used throughout the Psalter for Prayer. Sometimes vowel-words have the "mine" and "Thine" in front of them, sometimes they don't. Sometimes the "h" is treated as a consonant word, sometimes as a vowel word. Was this done purposely, or are these errors in grammatical consistency? An example: Psalm 88, v. 22: “Mine hand” and “Mine arm”?


I also noticed that some Psalm verses seem mis-numbered, going from the first verse directly into verse 3 and skipping a labeled verse 2 (see Psalm 89). Is this done intentionally, along the lines of there being no 2nd ode in most canons?

Thank you for any clarifications you can provide.

Joseph

#19 David James

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 08:45 PM

Please forgive me if I don’t understand the conventions of old English grammar and usage.

Just as we use the word "a" in front of a word that begins with a consonant (e.g. a fish), and "an" in front of a word that begins with a vowel (e.g. an apple), so too I've seen that "my" and "Thy" are used before a word with a consonant (e.g. my fish, Thy grace) and "mine" and "Thine" are used before words with a vowel (e.g. mine eyes, Thine eye). In addition, England-English rules treat the letter "h" most often as a vowel because they don't pronounce that sound, instead pronouncing the vowel sound after it (e.g. an honourable man). This is why "an historical sketch" would be considered by some to be correct usage. But because American English puts more pronunciation emphasis on the letter "h," it can be considered a consonant.


If I'm understanding all of this correctly, there are a number of inconsistencies with how these rules are used throughout the Psalter for Prayer. Sometimes vowel-words have the "mine" and "Thine" in front of them, sometimes they don't. Sometimes the "h" is treated as a consonant word, sometimes as a vowel word. Was this done purposely, or are these errors in grammatical consistency? An example: Psalm 88, v. 22: “Mine hand” and “Mine arm”?


I also noticed that some Psalm verses seem mis-numbered, going from the first verse directly into verse 3 and skipping a labeled verse 2 (see Psalm 89). Is this done intentionally, along the lines of there being no 2nd ode in most canons?

Thank you for any clarifications you can provide.

Joseph


Thanks for the question, Joseph. I am sure you are not the first to notice these two particular issues.

Regarding the usage of "my/mine" "thy/thine":

The inconsistency in usage of one or the other form before words beginning with a vowel reflects the original Coverdale text.

As for the verse numbering of the psalms, this is explained in the appendix at the end of the book. Generally, the superscription at the top of the Psalm is considered as Verse 1 in Orthodox editions of the Psalter. So, in the majority of cases, in Orthodox Psalters, the first verse of the actual psalm is counted as verse 2 (or even verse 3, as in the case of Ps 59, where the superscription is counted as two verses). BUT this is only the case if the superscription exists in the Hebrew. Thus, you will note with Psalm 1, whose superscription reads, "A Psalm of David. Without superscription in the Hebrew", the first verse of the actual psalm is counted as verse 1.

In the particular instance of Psalm 89 that you brought up: the superscription, "A Prayer of Moses the man of God", is counted as verse 1. Verse 2 is not numbered because of the dropped cap, and the printed verse numbers begin with verse 3.

Hope this answers your questions.

David James

Edited by David James, 01 June 2012 - 09:24 PM.
typo


#20 David James

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 09:02 PM

I tried to go through my copy and correct it. But on some of the verses listed above, I can't find where it needs correction. Ps 77:15, 96:2, 96:9 I cannot find people in the selected verses, so I can't change it to peoples.

Also, I have a question about the opening. It says Come let us worship and bow down before...
I always thought that this was a reference (or quote) from Ps. 94:6 which reads O come, let us worship and fall down before Him
Am I thinking wrong, or is this a typo?

Thank you.


Patrick:

You couldn't find them, because the verse numbers are wrong. I'm not very accurate when touch-typing numerals and, obviously, I did not proof-read carefully enough before posting. "77:15" should be "76:15"; "96:2" should be "98:2" and "96:9" should be "97:9"

As for "O come, let us worship..." Yes, this prayer IS based on Ps 94:6, as is reflected in the Slavonic ("priidite, poklonimsya i pripadyem Khristu, tsaryevi nashemu Bogu"), so this is a correction that ought to be made in future editions. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

David James




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