Thursday, July 27, 2006

Latin Psalms in an Irish bog

CNN report a 8-10th century ms of the Latin Psalms found in an Irish bog.

[Per Rob Price, Aberdeen]

10 Comments:

Daniel R. Buck said...

"There's two sets of odds that make this discovery really way out," Wallace said. "First of all, it's unlikely that something this fragile could survive buried in a bog at all, and then for it to be unearthed and spotted before it was destroyed is incalculably more amazing."

While I agree with Wallace's assessment of the much higher unlikelihood of the second of these two events occurring, I would say that a more accurate description of the first unlikelihood would not focus on finding something so fragile as this codex still preserved in a bog, but on finding something so valuable as a velum ms tossed out into the bog in the first place.

Daniel Buck said...

Keep googling, and you'll find that this ms discovery has been dragged into headline news. As CNN reported, (contrary to the photo provided) the ms was found open to "Psalm 83, in which God hears complaints of other nations' attempts to wipe out the name of Israel [v.4]."

Well, this provoked such a response from those following the current situation in the Middle East that another go was had at deciphering the opened page, and--what do you know--Psalm 83 in the Old Latin turns out to be our Psalm 84. Nothing there about wiping out Israel.

Oh, but it does mention passing through the Baka Valley.

Peter M. Head said...

Extremely unlikely things happen all the time, as we should expect.

P J Williams said...

Bogs preserve pretty well, though not as well as dry sands.

Peter M. Head said...

As long as it either stays wet or stays dry then texts can be preserved. Sometimes wet, sometimes dry means nothing. The Vindolanda writing tablets were preserved in a wet bog.

Daniel Buck said...

Actually, it's not the presence of H2O in the bog that preserves, but the absence of oxidizers and corrosives. Elemental sodium will corrode violently in water, but last forever in kerosine.

Stephen C. Carlson said...

We don't often discuss the textual criticism for the Psalms in Latin. How important is this find going to be for the history of the Psalms in Latin?

Daniel R. Buck said...

Psalm 145:13b would be something to watch for.

P J Williams said...

It could be significant for study of the Psalms in Latin. After all, the Latin Psalms have always been popular and have been used in several forms (I'm not really sure about the taxonomy but would guess that there is Old Latin, Psalterium Romanum, iuxta LXX, iuxta Hebraeos). This could shed new light on distribution and textual development or simply confirm existing patterns.

Daniel R. Buck said...

I'd bet, were I a better bettor, that this is no Vulgate ms.

Wycliffe, whose era was closer to that of the codex than we are to his, wrote of the English church that they still used the Old Latin Psalter, translated from the LXX.

Therefore we should expect Psalm 144 to contain the extra line.