The Psalms in Israel's Worship - Vol. 1

By Sigmund Mowinckel; D. R. Ap-Thomas | Go to book overview
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Translator's Preface

I rejoice that at last one of the really significant works of our day on the biblical psalms is available to a wider circle of readers than could be reached by the original one-volume Norwegian edition. This book however is more than a translation of Offersang og Sangoffer as published in 1951 by H. Aschehoug & Co. of Oslo; it gives the reader a fully revised text. One chapter from the original has been dropped because the author felt that it was not fully relevant here; the material in another chapter has been redistributed; less immediately germane excursuses have been arranged as a series of Additional Notes appended to volume II; and most chapters show more or less extensive revision at the hands of the author, the final revisions having been incorporated at the proof stage, so that the present edition may claim to represent the author's latest views. These revisions, but still more the falfilment of a lecturer's manifold tasks, have delayed the appearance of this book far beyond what had been expected. But the author has never once chided me for my slowness, and I am most grateful to him also for his careful reading of the proofs -- which should guarantee that his views are nowhere seriously mis-represented in this volume. Where the author's technical terms seemed to me to carry overtones not present in the conventional English equivalents, I have not hesitated to translate more literally than elegantly.

References to the Old Testament follow the chapter (Psalm) and verse in Hebrew as given in BH3. (this means, as most will know, that for the psalms in English the verse number must usually be decreased by one). English renderings are based on the author's own Norwegian renderings in most cases. Where the Hebrew text is quoted, transliteration has been used, in spite of some complication in the chapter on metrics; the system used will, it is hoped, be obvious to the Hebraist and not too uncouth to the uninitiated.

I fear that consistency in such matters as abbreviation and form of reference has not entirely been attained, but it is hoped that intelligibility at least has been preserved. In addition to the many scripture references, all the bibliographical references given in the notes -- with a few exceptions on account of inaccessibility -- have been cross-checked for this edition, and my warmest thanks are due to Professor emeritus H. H. Rowley, who not only placed the splendid resources of his own library at my disposal but most generously helped me to track down and borrow books from other sources also. Wherever an English translation of a work referred to was known to me, a reference thereto has been added if applicable; but it should be pointed out that in some cases published translations are incomplete, consequently -- and for the convenience of those possessing the original -- the reference to the foreign work has been retained in every case.


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