This project has in view the construction of a liturgical psalter which would form the basis for a thorough revision of the whole body of liturgical texts for the Horologion and the other books. Since the Psalter forms the very basis for all of the prayers and services of worship in the Orthodox Church, the very first step in establishing a sound liturgical basis for any further translations lies in the choice of a text for the Psalter. This is where we meet problems. The Psalters which form the basis for these texts currently exist in an eclectic blend which is most unfortunate: KJV, BCP, HTM, RSV, “home-brew” (!) and others.
Desiderata for the new Psalter would be the following:
1. the text is based upon the authorized Septuagint (“the Seventy,” LXX). The LXX, the divinely-inspired translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Alexandrian Greek, provided the form of the Holy Scriptures used by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and His holy Apostles. The first phase of this translation was accomplished by 72 pious Jewish elders, whence its name.
2. the English language translation would stand in as close agreement to the LXX as possible, with reference to the Hebrew where needed. It appears that the HTM version was constructed with little reference to the Hebrew text (compare Ps 150: 1)
3. classical, long-standing hieratic English usage would be preserved. This would mean that the Orthodox English Psalter would exist self-consciously in direct linguistic descent from the Coverdale, BCP, and Authorized Version sources. This language has formed the English Christian language of prayer for countless souls over many centuries.
4. There are points at which the new Psalter would of necessity break from the lineal descent of #3, due to demands of the LXX source. These points of departure would be managed by preserving, as far as possible, poetic and metrical continuity with the English language received tradition. At issue here is the fact that the classical English Psalter (as described in #3 above) is based upon Jerome’s Vulgate, with comparison to the Hebrew Old Testament, not the Septuagint.
Here I comment regarding the already-existing English-language translations of the Psalter from the Septuagint:
1. The Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Boston) version (HTM). This preserves classical hieratic English, but introduces awkward diction and phrasing. Its translation is almost slavish to the Greek, thus sacrificing good English style, especially where that already exists in the 16th century authorities.
2. The Orthodox Study Bible psalter is not a liturgical psalter and is not composed in hieratic language. Its purpose is strictly informational rather than liturgical.
3. The Etna Project departs in some respects from the KJV, which it claims to follow. The end result appears to be somewhat idiosyncratic.
Brother Philip: can you give account for any other already existing English language Psalters?