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date: 20 August 2019

Psalms, metricallocked

  • Nicholas Temperley,
  • Howard Slenk,
  • Jan R. Luth,
  • Margaret Munck,
  • John M. Barkley
  •  and R. Tosh

Extract

Paraphrases of the biblical psalms in verse translation, often designed for singing to tunes of a simple popular type (known today as hymn tunes).

Translation of the psalms into metrical verse goes back to Apollinaris in the 4th century, and poetic paraphrases may have been made as early as the 2nd century for the so-called Gnostic psalter of Bardaisan and his son Harmonius. It continued throughout the Middle Ages, chiefly for the purposes of edification and private devotion. Metrical versions of the seven ‘penitential psalms’ (vi, xxxii, xxxviii, li, cii, cxxx and cxliii) held a special place in the devotional life of the Roman Church, but in the 16th century a new motive was added – that of public worship. Hus and Luther acknowledged the power of congregational singing, which required texts in verse because prose could not easily be sung by the people at large. Thus the enormous increase in the quantity of metrical psalms after ...

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