The Scottish Prose Psalter

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Puritanboard Librarian
Is anyone acquainted with The Scottish Prose Psalter, Being the Authorized Version of the Psalms With Selected Passages of Scripture, and Ancient Hymns, Pointed for Chanting?

*Church of Scotland, General Assembly, The Scottish Prose Psalter Being The Authorized Version of the Psalms with Selected Passages of Scripture, and Ancient Hymns, Pointed for Chanting, With Accompanying Chants. For Use in Churches, by Authority of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 2nd edition (London: T. Nelson and Sons, Paternoster Row, Edinburgh and New York, 1906) and ( Crown Rights Book Company, 2003).
"Since Christ is the Second Person of the Trinity, the hymns and laments of the psalms are directed to Him as to the Father and the Spirit. Jesus is both a singer of the psalms (Heb. 2:12 [Psalm 22:22]) and the focus of their interest. We can sing to Him our praise, tell Him our complaints and petitions, and thank Him for His goodness. We extol Him as our King, rest our confidence in Him, and look to Him as the embodiment of God's wisdom." -- "The Book of Psalms," The Reformation Study Bible, pp. 754, 755
Have you ever planned to sing through The Book of Psalms with your spouse or with your family? Here is your psalter: The Scottish Prose Psalter.
The writer knows of no psalter truer to the literal translation of the Word of God, short of pointing The Book of Psalms from Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, which preserves the Hebrew and Greek grammatical structure, or short of taking 15 years out of one's life to learn the original Hebrew and Greek, which, of course, is not necessary.
This is a split-page psalter. The top set of pages are the music, the bottom set of pages are the psalms. This format allows the worshiper to match any melody with any particular psalm.
The preface contains instruction on how to chant. Select chants are recommended for each psalm.
"Chanting is the singing of a prose text to a simple, repeated melody. Good chanting is essentially good reading aloud; it uses the rhythms and stresses of natural speech.
"The ancient Hebrews never used metrical `tunes' in the modern sense. In the synagogue, the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings (including the Psalms), were read in a sing-song recitation which was half speech, half song. Originally chanting involved only a single line (that is, no part-singing), and only two or three pitches. The early Christian church retained this practice, adapting it to the recitation of the Psalms in Latin translation. Our present system of chanting in four parts is called Anglican Chant, and dates from sixteenth-century England.
"Chanting has several advantages over metrical Psalmody, stemming from the fact that in chanting, the music completely serves the text. The music is not difficult or interesting in itself, but has character and meaning only in conjunction with words. The meaning of the text is thus more immediate, and the parallel structure of the Hebrew poetry is more apparent. The difficulties of translating ancient non-metrical poems into sensible English rhyme are rendered unnecessary. Chanting encourages the use of entire Psalms rather than selections." -- "An Introduction to Chanting," The Book of Psalms for Singing, Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, 1995, p. 440
A prose psalter was nothing new for The Church of Scotland. They published The Psalms of David in prose and metre: with the whole forme of Discipline, and prayers, according to the Church of Scotland; the Psalms in prose being of the last translation; translated by the speciall commandment of King James the sixt, 1610 (Aberdene: Printed by Edward Raban for David Melvill, 1633).
The Bible Psalter (London: J. Nisbet, 1880), 142 pp., Presbyterian Church of England, "the music arranged and partly composed by Sir Herbert S. Oakeley" (1830-1903) and The Psalter (T. Nelson and Sons, 1888), 303 pp., by Authority of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, "pointed for chanting, and with chants adapted thereto or specially composed for this work by Sir Herbert Stanley Oakeley" preceded this work.
"The Musical portion of this work is identical with that in "The Psalter, and Selected Passages of Scripture," etc., published in 1888; but advantage has been taken of a new issue to revise and improve the pointing of the words. To mark the Revised Edition the title of the work has been changed to THE SCOTTISH PROSE PSALTER, etc.. . . ." -- Note to Preface, May, 1897.
Publication of The Psalter, under the new title, The Scottish Prose Psalter, could have been a consequence of the awakening of 1905, "part of a worldwide movement and apparently especially inspired by British revivals. . ."
Any concordance to the Authorized King James Version and any index to the Psalms of David (AKJV) may be used with this Psalter.
Psalms are an essential part of personal devotions. There is a sincerity and beautiful simplicity about The Scottish Prose Psalter. Everyone should own a copy, especially fathers who lead family worship.
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