02 July 2011

REVIEW: The Orthodox Psalter by Holy Apostles Convent

As mentioned before, Holy Apostles Convent put out their own Psalter, named "The Orthodox Psalter" and sub-titled "The Psalterion According to the Seventy, With the Nine Odes, and Patristic Commentary".

Also I mentioned I was weary of any need for any other than Holy Transfiguration Monastery's "The Psalter According to the Seventy".

To be completely clear, I love HAC's woodenly literal "The Orthodox New Testament" and other books, so I anticipated good work here.

My first impression is that I like it.In some places, it will be hard to use it, as I am so used to the HTM translation instead. For instance HAC likes to use unlawfulness rather than inequities. It may be less poetic, but it is much more accurate.

Just to give you a taste, I want to compare Psalm 1 from some different Psalters:
HAC's THE ORTHODOX PSALTER: Blessed is the man who walked not in the counsel of the ungodly, and stood not in the way of sinners, and sat not in the seat of the pestilent. But rather in the law of the LORD, and in His law will he meditate day and night. And he shall be like the tree, the one planted by the outlet of the waters, which shall bring forth its fruit in his season; and its leaf shall not fall, and all things whatsoever he do shall be prospered. Not so are the ungodly, not so; but rather are they like the chaff which the wind doth cast forth from the face of the earth. For this reason shall the ungodly not stand up for themselves in judgment, nor sinners in the council of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, and the way of the ungodly shall be undone. 
HTM's THE PSALTER ACCORDING TO THE SEVENTY: Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the pestilent. But his will is rather in the law of the Lord, and in His law will he meditate day and night. And he shall be like the tree which is planted by the streams of the waters, which shall bring forth its fruit in its season; and its leaf shall not fall, and all things whatsoever he may do shall prosper. Not so are the ungodly, not so; but rather they are like the chaff which the wind doth hurl away from the face of the earth. For this reason shall the ungodly not stand up in judgement, nor sinners in the council of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, and the way of the ungodly shall perish. 
KJV or THE AUTHORIZED KING JAMES VERSION: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. 
RSV or THE IGNATIUS REVISED STANDARD VERSION: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
So, while it is a good translation, it also has other advantages, as it has Psalm 151, all the unabbreviated Kathisma prayers, the 9 Biblical Odes, Tables of Usage, Verses and Couplet to David, Commentary, Bibliography, and Indices, as well as Saint Basil the Great's "In praise of the Psalms".

Interestingly, it has more than the HTM Psalter, but is roughly the same size.

Some oddities are that there is no publisher forward unlike the ONT, odd quotation marks like in the ONT, and the Psalms are all in boldface. However the later probably makes it more readable in a low-lit church.

Overall, this is probably the best Psalter available for Orthodox Christians IMO. I recommend it highly. You can purchase it directly from the convent. Unlike my Amazon links, I get no financial profit from this link, nor am I in any way associated with this convent.


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