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Inadequate psalter translation, ment for reciting private, not singing in public.
on 16 October 2013
I give it only two stars because firstly, the translations of the psalms do not correctly match either the latin gallican psalter or greek septuagint psalter. For anglicans who enter into the Russian Orthodox Church, It was seen to be of great necessity to the correct words of the Coverdale psalter, where it was mistaken, and keep the them the same where translated correctly. The original coverdale of the 16th century did not match the original latin, greek and hebrew it was not done with the care and scholarship that for instance went into the Douay Rheims or King James, which are both better translations. The resulting corrected Coverdale psalter published by the Russians is titled "A Psalter for Prayer" by David James, it remains a Coverdale translation, but with serious corrections. There is no need to have bias against the translation because it was made by the Orthodox Church, it is the best translation to use for Anglo-Catholics and ought to be embraced by all Catholics seeking to use english liturgy. It is distinctly different from the Douay Rheims, which though an excellent translation is less singeable and was not designed for singing.
Secondly, as others noted, this is a breviary which tends to encourage the office as a private devotion, it is not a "noted" (with musical notes) breviary or portiforium. It tends not to include antiphons, responsories or hymns. Yet that is exactly what the historic divine office of all christendom contained. The only churches to reject antiphons are those which are protestant, done specifically as a rejection of catholic and orthodox values. What the ordinariates should have done, and still can do in the future - is base their office on "The Order of Vespers throughout the year from the Salisbury use" (1934/1968) and "The Diurnal Noted from the Salisbury Use (1926)" by G.H. Palmer. They could also base it off of Dr. William Renwick's english versions of the Sarum use office at the Gregorian Institute of Canada. (People often commission Dr. Renwick and his associates for typesetting work, they could produce a better breviary designed for the ordinariates upon request.)
If one wants a private prayer book that complements a 30 minute "low mass mentality", than this is a fine book which fulfills all their legal obligations. If one wants to truly live with the spirit of the apostles and the spirit of the law, the spirit of "renewal" celebrating the Divine Office as it truly must be - as an act of public sung prayer, they must search elsewhere. G.H. Palmers' and C.W. Douglas' books remain for the time being the only viable options for singing the office in the english tradition from a single book, with propers for all seasons and saints.
Yet I also know that many will find it to be a good book. Through the lens contemporary preconconceptions that may be so, but I assure all, if you took a man from the 15th century england, put them in a time machine to the 21st century, and gave them this book to replace their old book of hours from the 15th century, they would be very disappointed. This is the lens of conception that brings me to give the book this rating.
I do genuinely appreciate the work that went into the book, it is adequate as a temporary solution, but nothing more.