Psalms

1. New translation and commentary (2017)

This translation is guided by the Grail Version used in The Divine Office (1963), by the work of Luis Alonso Schökel (1991, 1993), and by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (1994).

One of the most remarkable statements of Jesus was his call for us to be like our heavenly Father by loving our enemies (see Matthew 5:43-48). Referring to the authors of the psalms, Carroll Stuhlmueller writes in the translation offered by the International Commission, just referred to: 'their angry outbursts against the enemy embarrass Jews and Christians alike and have been dropped from the liturgical prayer of most churches.' I have noted the omitted verses in this translation.

I have also followed the International Version in aiming at dynamic rather than formal equivalence. I quote from the Afterword of the translation offered by the International Commission:

'Because this translation is intended for contemporary liturgical use, it follows the principles of dynamic equivalence, rather than formal equivalence. As any serious effort at translation, it seeks to render accurately the meaning of the original, to convey the spirit and nuances of the original, to make complete sense in idiomatic English and achieve a certain literary quality, and, as far as possible, to produce the same effect in modern readers as the original Hebrew produced in its audience. The key to a dynamic equivalence translation, however, is a more acute awareness that a modern receptor language expresses the thought, nuances, and presuppositions of its society in modes that are often different from those of ancient societies. Thus, while a formally equivalent translation seeks to render closely the distinctive structural and semantic characteristics of the source language (for example, grammatical and rhetorical constructions, word order, tense, number and gender markers, literal translation of idioms not found in the receptor language), a dynamically equivalent translation seeks parallel structural, semantic and idiomatic units that are native to the receptor language. Indeed, to communicate as closely as possible the very content of the psalm or canticle to an English-speaking audience, ancient rhetorical structures and grammatical forms must be adapted to English modes of expression.'

The numbering of the psalms that is used in liturgical texts follows the numbering in the Septuagint (the Old Testament Greek translation of the psalms). I have used the Hebrew numbering, followed by the liturgical numbering in a bracket.

1a. Psalms 1-50 text only

1b. Psalms 1-50 text and commentary

2a. Psalms 51-100 text only

2b. Psalms 51-100 text and commentary

3a. Psalms 101-150 text only

3b. Psalms 101-150 text and commentary

Psalms 1-150 text only

Psalms 1-150 text and commentary

 

3. Commentary published in 2005

I published a commentary on the Psalms in 2005 (Chevalier Press, 542 pages RRP $40.00) (www.annals.com.au) [email: annalsaustralasia@gmail.com;
Phone: 61+2 96627894]. With the permission of the publisher this book is now accessible from this website in pdf format. Click on the psalm that interests you.

 

3. Audio files (2004-2005)

From October 2004 to November 2005 I offered lectures in Canberra on the Psalms.

You can listen to my reflections on the psalm that interests you by clicking on one of the following. The process for downloading and saving the file varies from browser to browser (generally right-click for Widows PC and control-click for Mac).

A copy of the full suite of audio files is available on 4 CDs (cost $20.00). Please contact me if you wish to purchase.

  • You can, of course, download this material free of charge from this website.