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Psalter translations

matthewtnagel

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I am contemplating which Psalter I'd like to use going forward. I have more or less narrowed it down to three choices but I am open to any suggestions. I've ruled out the Psalter for Prayer, the Ancient Faith Psalter, and the Dormition Monastery Psalter for various reasons.

1. Stick with the HTM Psalter I've been using. I don't mind it. The binding and print are very nice, and it's what my parish uses. It can be a bit gainly at times for me though which causes my mind to check-out a bit. I imagine this factor would get better with time and continued reading. I like archaic pronouns but theres just something a bit clunky about it for me as of now. As far as I can tell this translation seems to be fairly divisive on this forum. I'd say I'm pretty middle of the road on it.

2. Use the Revised Grail Psalter. The translation looks very elegant and readable, but I suppose there may be some speculations about accuracy according to Orthodox tradition? Perhaps not, I have no clue. Doesn't have the Kathisma and Stasis printed in it but I'm not totally averse to simply writing them in. I suppose that the biggest potential downside of this is that the language differs significantly from that of my prayer book and of my parish. I have no idea if that will bother me a whole lot or not at all.

3. Use the translation done by Donald Sheehan ("The Psalms of David: Translated from the Septuagint Greek"). This is a bit more obscure but from what I've read of and about it the translation seems very nice. It maintains the archaic pronouns which I appreciate, but seems to flow a bit better than the HTM Psalter. I'm am slightly weary of a translation done by one person as I would think that some misunderstandings and blindspots here or there would be unavoidable but that's mere speculation on my part. A downside of this one is that it only comes in paperback or a rather shoddy hardcover according to an Amazon review.

If anyone has any thoughts they'd be willing to offer up about any of these it would be sincerely appreciated, as are any suggestions.

God bless
 

MalpanaGiwargis

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matthewtnagel said:
I am contemplating which Psalter I'd like to use going forward. I have more or less narrowed it down to three choices but I am open to any suggestions. I've ruled out the Psalter for Prayer, the Ancient Faith Psalter, and the Dormition Monastery Psalter for various reasons.

1. Stick with the HTM Psalter I've been using. I don't mind it. The binding and print are very nice, and it's what my parish uses. It can be a bit gainly at times for me though which causes my mind to check-out a bit. I imagine this factor would get better with time and continued reading. I like archaic pronouns but theres just something a bit clunky about it for me as of now. As far as I can tell this translation seems to be fairly divisive on this forum. I'd say I'm pretty middle of the road on it.

2. Use the Revised Grail Psalter. The translation looks very elegant and readable, but I suppose there may be some speculations about accuracy according to Orthodox tradition? Perhaps not, I have no clue. Doesn't have the Kathisma and Stasis printed in it but I'm not totally averse to simply writing them in. I suppose that the biggest potential downside of this is that the language differs significantly from that of my prayer book and of my parish. I have no idea if that will bother me a whole lot or not at all.

3. Use the translation done by Donald Sheehan ("The Psalms of David: Translated from the Septuagint Greek"). This is a bit more obscure but from what I've read of and about it the translation seems very nice. It maintains the archaic pronouns which I appreciate, but seems to flow a bit better than the HTM Psalter. I'm am slightly weary of a translation done by one person as I would think that some misunderstandings and blindspots here or there would be unavoidable but that's mere speculation on my part. A downside of this one is that it only comes in paperback or a rather shoddy hardcover according to an Amazon review.

If anyone has any thoughts they'd be willing to offer up about any of these it would be sincerely appreciated, as are any suggestions.

God bless
I have a hard time sticking with one psalter; they are all ultimately lacking something. If I preferred archaic English, I'd just stick with HTM. It's fine as a translation, the books are well-made, and it's pretty commonly used. The lack of the kathisma prayers is the biggest drawback.

The Revised Grail is very much aligned to the Hebrew text, not the Septuagint. How much that bothers you is up to you, of course; how much that genuinely matters is also debatable. It is online if you want to read through your favorite psalms and see how they sound (Hebrew numbering of course). I used the old Grail for many years as a Catholic, so much of the phraseology is familiar to me.

If my parish used a particular translation, that would probably be the deciding factor. My parish, however, uses a grab-bag of who knows what from where, so that's not a reasonable factor for me now.
 

Iconodule

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matthewtnagel said:
I am contemplating which Psalter I'd like to use going forward. I have more or less narrowed it down to three choices but I am open to any suggestions. I've ruled out the Psalter for Prayer, the Ancient Faith Psalter, and the Dormition Monastery Psalter for various reasons.

1. Stick with the HTM Psalter I've been using. I don't mind it. The binding and print are very nice, and it's what my parish uses. It can be a bit gainly at times for me though which causes my mind to check-out a bit. I imagine this factor would get better with time and continued reading. I like archaic pronouns but theres just something a bit clunky about it for me as of now. As far as I can tell this translation seems to be fairly divisive on this forum. I'd say I'm pretty middle of the road on it.

2. Use the Revised Grail Psalter. The translation looks very elegant and readable, but I suppose there may be some speculations about accuracy according to Orthodox tradition? Perhaps not, I have no clue. Doesn't have the Kathisma and Stasis printed in it but I'm not totally averse to simply writing them in. I suppose that the biggest potential downside of this is that the language differs significantly from that of my prayer book and of my parish. I have no idea if that will bother me a whole lot or not at all.

3. Use the translation done by Donald Sheehan ("The Psalms of David: Translated from the Septuagint Greek"). This is a bit more obscure but from what I've read of and about it the translation seems very nice. It maintains the archaic pronouns which I appreciate, but seems to flow a bit better than the HTM Psalter. I'm am slightly weary of a translation done by one person as I would think that some misunderstandings and blindspots here or there would be unavoidable but that's mere speculation on my part. A downside of this one is that it only comes in paperback or a rather shoddy hardcover according to an Amazon review.

If anyone has any thoughts they'd be willing to offer up about any of these it would be sincerely appreciated, as are any suggestions.

God bless
I've heard good things about the Sheehan version though I have no personal experience with it. In my opinion a translation by committee is just as likely to have problems as an individual's work. In this case I gather that Sheehan is an experienced poet and that's an important quality in a psalm translator.

The only other translation with archaic pronouns I'm aware of is Fr. Lazarus Moore's translation which you can read online here. However, the edition of his Psalter that is in print is a later revision he made removing archaic pronouns. Even so it is a beautiful translation with a good English literary ear, though it has an ordinary paperback binding and does not include the canticles or kathisma prayers (the kathisma/ stasis divisions are marked, however).

What rules out the Psalter for Prayer for you?
 

matthewtnagel

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Iconodule said:
matthewtnagel said:
I am contemplating which Psalter I'd like to use going forward. I have more or less narrowed it down to three choices but I am open to any suggestions. I've ruled out the Psalter for Prayer, the Ancient Faith Psalter, and the Dormition Monastery Psalter for various reasons.

1. Stick with the HTM Psalter I've been using. I don't mind it. The binding and print are very nice, and it's what my parish uses. It can be a bit gainly at times for me though which causes my mind to check-out a bit. I imagine this factor would get better with time and continued reading. I like archaic pronouns but theres just something a bit clunky about it for me as of now. As far as I can tell this translation seems to be fairly divisive on this forum. I'd say I'm pretty middle of the road on it.

2. Use the Revised Grail Psalter. The translation looks very elegant and readable, but I suppose there may be some speculations about accuracy according to Orthodox tradition? Perhaps not, I have no clue. Doesn't have the Kathisma and Stasis printed in it but I'm not totally averse to simply writing them in. I suppose that the biggest potential downside of this is that the language differs significantly from that of my prayer book and of my parish. I have no idea if that will bother me a whole lot or not at all.

3. Use the translation done by Donald Sheehan ("The Psalms of David: Translated from the Septuagint Greek"). This is a bit more obscure but from what I've read of and about it the translation seems very nice. It maintains the archaic pronouns which I appreciate, but seems to flow a bit better than the HTM Psalter. I'm am slightly weary of a translation done by one person as I would think that some misunderstandings and blindspots here or there would be unavoidable but that's mere speculation on my part. A downside of this one is that it only comes in paperback or a rather shoddy hardcover according to an Amazon review.

If anyone has any thoughts they'd be willing to offer up about any of these it would be sincerely appreciated, as are any suggestions.

God bless
I've heard good things about the Sheehan version though I have no personal experience with it. In my opinion a translation by committee is just as likely to have problems as an individual's work. In this case I gather that Sheehan is an experienced poet and that's an important quality in a psalm translator.

The only other translation with archaic pronouns I'm aware of is Fr. Lazarus Moore's translation which you can read online here. However, the edition of his Psalter that is in print is a later revision he made removing archaic pronouns. Even so it is a beautiful translation with a good English literary ear, though it has an ordinary paperback binding and does not include the canticles or kathisma prayers (the kathisma/ stasis divisions are marked, however).

What rules out the Psalter for Prayer for you?
Yes, I have decided that I am actually quite open to modern pronouns now that I've meditated on it a little while and checked out some of the Grail Psalms. Perhaps I would even prefer them, I've just simply never really used prayers without archaic pronouns. I'll definitely check out Fr. Lazarus Moore's translation. Thanks for the recommendation. I ruled out the Psalter for Prayer simply because I find the translation a bit gainly, and the pocket version is too cramped whilst the medium and large versions are too large for my tastes.

I think I will purchase the one by Fr. Lazarus Moore, but before I do, have you heard anything about this one? http://www.holymyrrhbearers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=50 I'm thinking of purchasing their Manual of the Hours of the Orthodox Church for praying the hours, and supposedly this uses the same language. It sounds appealing by its description. I appreciate the insight.
 

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I have and like the Myrrhnearers books. The hours book is very simple and user friendly. I like their Psalter except that it relies a lot on the RSV, including using “steadfast love” instead of “mercy” which bugs me to an irrational degree. It also doesn’t seem to follow the Septuagint consistently- eg psalm 50 has “blameless when you judge” instead of “blameless when you are judged.”
 

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matthewtnagel said:
1. Stick with the HTM Psalter I've been using. I don't mind it. The binding and print are very nice, and it's what my parish uses. It can be a bit gainly at times for me though which causes my mind to check-out a bit. I imagine this factor would get better with time and continued reading. I like archaic pronouns but theres just something a bit clunky about it for me as of now. As far as I can tell this translation seems to be fairly divisive on this forum. I'd say I'm pretty middle of the road on it.
I would like to give you my thanks for putting into words what I could not. I couldn't put my finger on what was so off-putting about it, but now I can.

I just bought a copy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery's translation of the psalms (it arrived on my birthday last week, in fact). I bought it because I was told whacky, sinister, and schismatic or not, this translation was suburb. It does nothing for me. Once I space out whilst reading it, it's game over.

I don't know if I'll go out and buy a new translation so quickly after purchasing this one, but I'll keep my eye on this conversation to see if a better one turns out.
 

hecma925

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I have no idea what translation my parish uses, but I don't like it; that's only because I'm used to the HTM translation which was used in my old parish.

At home, I use the Psalter for Prayer, which I really like.
 

matthewtnagel

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Iconodule said:
I have and like the Myrrhnearers books. The hours book is very simple and user friendly. I like their Psalter except that it relies a lot on the RSV, including using “steadfast love” instead of “mercy” which bugs me to an irrational degree. It also doesn’t seem to follow the Septuagint consistently- eg psalm 50 has “blameless when you judge” instead of “blameless when you are judged.”
Thanks so much, I really appreciate your responses. Good to know about the Myrrhbearers Psalter. I'll probably purchase the hours book and hold off on their Psalter for now. I had actually read a bit of the Fr. Lazarus Moore translation a couple days ago and really liked it, but could not find a place to buy it so thank you for linking it. I'm sure I would not have found it otherwise. I'm very excited to use it once it arrives. I also keen on reading more about him and also checking out his book about St. Seraphim of Sarov, which seems to be very highly regarded.
 

matthewtnagel

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How do I delete a response? I accidentally quoted myself here and can't seem to figure out how to delete this now modified message.
 

hecma925

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matthewtnagel said:
How do I delete a response? I accidentally quoted myself here and can't seem to figure out how to delete this now modified message.
It can't be deleted.
 

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My parish uses the RSV psalter, so its the one I read and try to commit to memory.

My favorite Psalter as literature would probably be the Robert Alter translation. It's beautiful.

Some of the Orthodox translations aren't exactly euphonious.
 

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As much as I like the RSV translation in general, it doesn't exactly do well in services, which you can't really fault since it wasn't translated for that in mind. I wince all the time when certain psalms are read and wonder how such a tin ear got involved in the translation...
 

matthewtnagel

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hecma925 said:
matthewtnagel said:
How do I delete a response? I accidentally quoted myself here and can't seem to figure out how to delete this now modified message.
It can't be deleted.
I find that a little unsettling. I wish I hadn't used my real name in the making of my account in case I say anything irrevocably foolish.
 

SolEX01

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matthewtnagel said:
hecma925 said:
matthewtnagel said:
How do I delete a response? I accidentally quoted myself here and can't seem to figure out how to delete this now modified message.
It can't be deleted.
I find that a little unsettling. I wish I hadn't used my real name in the making of my account in case I say anything irrevocably foolish.
Welcome to the forum.  :)

You can change your username; just send a PM to Fr. George.
 

Volnutt

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You can also click "report to moderator" on the bottom of a post. Tell them its a duplicate and they might be able to delete it for you.
 

hecma925

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matthewtnagel said:
hecma925 said:
matthewtnagel said:
How do I delete a response? I accidentally quoted myself here and can't seem to figure out how to delete this now modified message.
It can't be deleted.
I find that a little unsettling. I wish I hadn't used my real name in the making of my account in case I say anything irrevocably foolish.
My legal name is hecma925 Smith and I try to write something foolish on the internet once a day.
 

platypus

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hecma925 said:
I have no idea what translation my parish uses, but I don't like it; that's only because I'm used to the HTM translation which was used in my old parish.

At home, I use the Psalter for Prayer, which I really like.
I actually didn't get through the Psalter for Prayer on my first try; I abandoned it around shortly after I got to Psalm 50. I thought the language was too archaic.

After coming back to it and praying my way through it a few times, I realize it was mostly difficult to read because I was so used to HTM phrasing. I like it more each time I use it.

Iconodule said:
The only other translation with archaic pronouns I'm aware of is Fr. Lazarus Moore's translation which you can read online here. However, the edition of his Psalter that is in print is a later revision he made removing archaic pronouns. Even so it is a beautiful translation with a good English literary ear, though it has an ordinary paperback binding and does not include the canticles or kathisma prayers (the kathisma/ stasis divisions are marked, however).
Fr. Lazarus' translation is really beautiful. Do you know if there any serous changes to his final psalter besides the pronoun changes?

Also, there's a spiralbound version on Lulu, for those who don't like ordinary paperback binding: http://www.lulu.com/shop/lazarus-moore/psalter/paperback/product-20463115.html
I think it's the archaic pronoun version, as it's not under copyright.
 

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matthewtnagel said:
I am contemplating which Psalter I'd like to use going forward. I have more or less narrowed it down to three choices but I am open to any suggestions. I've ruled out the Psalter for Prayer, the Ancient Faith Psalter, and the Dormition Monastery Psalter for various reasons.

1. Stick with the HTM Psalter I've been using. I don't mind it. The binding and print are very nice, and it's what my parish uses. It can be a bit gainly at times for me though which causes my mind to check-out a bit. I imagine this factor would get better with time and continued reading. I like archaic pronouns but theres just something a bit clunky about it for me as of now. As far as I can tell this translation seems to be fairly divisive on this forum. I'd say I'm pretty middle of the road on it.

2. Use the Revised Grail Psalter. The translation looks very elegant and readable, but I suppose there may be some speculations about accuracy according to Orthodox tradition? Perhaps not, I have no clue. Doesn't have the Kathisma and Stasis printed in it but I'm not totally averse to simply writing them in. I suppose that the biggest potential downside of this is that the language differs significantly from that of my prayer book and of my parish. I have no idea if that will bother me a whole lot or not at all.

3. Use the translation done by Donald Sheehan ("The Psalms of David: Translated from the Septuagint Greek"). This is a bit more obscure but from what I've read of and about it the translation seems very nice. It maintains the archaic pronouns which I appreciate, but seems to flow a bit better than the HTM Psalter. I'm am slightly weary of a translation done by one person as I would think that some misunderstandings and blindspots here or there would be unavoidable but that's mere speculation on my part. A downside of this one is that it only comes in paperback or a rather shoddy hardcover according to an Amazon review.

If anyone has any thoughts they'd be willing to offer up about any of these it would be sincerely appreciated, as are any suggestions.

God bless
There is an interesting English translation of the Septuagint Psalter which everyone forgets about, and that is the translation of St. Jerome’s translation of the same, contained in the Challoner Douay-Rheims, and thus completely in the public domain.  All one has to do is remove the occasional annoying RC doctrinal comments; in terms of versification it aligns with the LXX Psalter, so for example, Psalm 95:5 states “The gods of the gentiles are devils” vs. the MT reading, where that is Psalm 96:5 and instead reads perhaps somewhat less poingantly, “The gods of the gentiles are idols.”

There is also a beautiful direct translation of the LXX, from the 18th century, by Lancelot Brenton, which includes a most elegant Psalter, which, alas, no one uses.

I myself am not particularly fond of the liturgical texts published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery.  I love the Jordanville Psalter and their Horologion, in contrast.
 

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Alpha60 said:
There is an interesting English translation of the Septuagint Psalter which everyone forgets about, and that is the translation of St. Jerome’s translation of the same, contained in the Challoner Douay-Rheims, and thus completely in the public domain.  All one has to do is remove the occasional annoying RC doctrinal comments; in terms of versification it aligns with the LXX Psalter, so for example, Psalm 95:5 states “The gods of the gentiles are devils” vs. the MT reading, where that is Psalm 96:5 and instead reads perhaps somewhat less poingantly, “The gods of the gentiles are idols.”
The phrase "renew a right spirit within my bowels" in Psalm 50 is the only thing that's prevented me from using the Douay Rheims psalter. I still have a third grader's sense of humor, apparently.

Alpha60 said:
There is also a beautiful direct translation of the LXX, from the 18th century, by Lancelot Brenton, which includes a most elegant Psalter, which, alas, no one uses.
It's interesting you bring that up. I wonder why this is the case? I know Brenton's Old Testament is used amongst English speaking Orthodox, but I've never heard of his psalter being used. Lately I've been reading St. Theophan's Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, published by Jordanville. The OT quotations are all from Brenton's except for Psalter, for which the HTM psalms are used. That's definitely been the case with other Orthodox books I've read as well.
 
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