20 December 2009


I am sorry to have confused readers with this slang term. I think people have found Novavulgata a bit of a tonguetwister, especially when drunk.

The Psalter in the Neovulgate (now appearing in editions of the Liturgia Horarum) is certainly not the very wayward Pius XII translation. So within two generations we have had three psalters in public (Latin) worship: Vulgate, Pius XII, Neovulgate. (I expect some learned person will remind us of the even-older Latin Psalter.) I call this scandalous. How can a text settle into one's being and feed one's spirituality if Clever People are endlesssly "correcting" it?

The rabbis, wise chaps, know better than to muck around with the Massoretic texts. I am told that the Byzantine churches have resolved to try to prove their credentials in terms of "modern" scholarship by redoing the Septuagint. Barmy. Why can't they learn from our (Western) mistakes?

If I were an Orthodox, such a move would drive me to become an Old Believer or else - more probably - to ask Rome to grant an Old-Septuagint Ordinariate.


Derek the Ænglican said...

Was the reminder of an even-older Latin psalter a cue to bring up Jerome's three different psalters--the Gallicanum, Romanum, and Hebraicum?

And the folk then got so steamed at him for mucking around with the Old Latin texts...

Joshua said...

There is something ineffably comforting about reading the Vulgate psalms...

And I know exactly the trouble this endless mucking with the Latin makes: some years back, at a graveside of a priest, I said to a friend, "Let's say the De Profundis," to which he agreed - so, said I,

"De profundis clamavi ad te Domine, Domine, exaudi vocem meam."

Anthony: "Fiant aures tuæ intendentes in vocem deprecationis meæ."

I: "Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine, Domine, quis sustinebit?"

Anthony: "Quia apud te propitiatio est, ut timeamus te."

I: "What!?" - or words to that effect, as we both then tried to work out how to match up the verses, which for the next few lines diverge in the Vulgate and the New Vulgate...

So the whole thing fell apart because we were each praying a different version, and moreover our fellow mourners mocked us for being too clever by half.

rwmorbey said...

The problem is not really so much a new edition of the Septuagint - after all it exists in several recensions - but in English translations of the Septuagint. The problem for Orthodox Christians is that lack of a stable English use of scripture. Interestingly one Orthodox jurisdiction has recently adopted the Coverdale Psalter - with minor tinkering - as the approved text for liturgical worship. Once you have a Psalter almost everything else falls in place..