Thursday, November 17, 2016

Psalm Numbering And Translations

No one has asked yet but I've been using the numbering of the Protestant version of the Bible because it's more often followed by composers if they designate a number to their settings.  You might notice that quite often the Catholic numbering is slightly different, not because anything's been left out but because when they were beginning to number chapters and verses (itself a late medieval invention) some longer Psalms were divided differently resulting in different numbering.  

I have been using the Contemporary English Version as a standard text because some of the atheists who troll this place probably couldn't deal with a less colloquial translation.  They don't tend to be careful readers.   I looked at the Easy To Read version but I'm not sure I entirely trust it, though its origins in coming up with a version that could be read by people whose primary language is American Sign Language is intriguing. Some of the texts I looked at seem to deemphasize  the radical economic justice content that is right at the heart of the scriptures and in one place seems to delete it, though it mentions it in a footnote. I might be wrong about that but I don't have limitless time to check them.   But the CEV makes it unnecessary.  

I believe the Contemporary English Version is accepted by most mainstream churches, including Catholics.  I like reading the older versions but I prefer something that uses modern language.  

I just downloaded but haven't read much of the century-old Jewish Publication Society translation, maybe I should give it precedence.  Or maybe I should just bite the bullet and learn to read Hebrew.   I'm getting lazy in my old age. 

For anyone who wants to chant the Psalms or other texts, which allows them to have a greater impact,  I'm not big on using the Gregorian method of doing that with an English text though some people do that.   Here is one way that is proposed for chanting the Psalms with an English text.  It's certainly usable but I'd think you should come up with your own way of doing it, no need to stick with the Gregorian modes or even to organize it in the same way if it's for your personal use.  If you're doing it to enhance your own understanding and deepen that, maybe coming up with your own way is the best way to chant them.   As long as you keep the meaning in mind and serving that, your mistakes will probably help you as much as what you do right.   Anything that forces you to think. 

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