Document: Revised Psalter according to the Greek text (Gallican Psalter)
Addressee: Paula and Eustochium
Date: 386
Latin Text: R. Weber and B. Gryson, eds., Biblia sacra: iuxta Vulgatam versionem (Stuttgart 1994). [text provided by Douay-Rheims Bible Online]
English Translation (Preface Only): Translated by K.P. Edgecomb (see below.)
Notes: This translation was so successful that the Gauls preferred it to Jerome’s translation from the Hebrew, hence it was eventually incorporated into the Vulgate instead of Jerome’s later translations. For this reason it is sometimes called the Gallican Psalter.

Jerome’s Preface to his Translation of Psalms According to the Greek Text*

Not long ago while located in Rome, I emended the Psalter, and had corrected it, though cursorily, for the most part according to the (version of the) Seventy interpreters. Because you see it again, O Paula and Eustochium, corrupted by the error of the scribes, and the more ancient error to prevail rather than the new emendation, you urge that I work the land like some kind of field already ploughed, and uproot with sideways furrows the thorns being reborn,1 saying it is proper that what so frequently sprouts badly is just as frequently cut down. For this reason I remind by my usual preface, both you for whom this mighty work exerts itself, and those who would have copies of such, that those things to have been diligently emended might be transcribed with care and diligence. Each may himself note either a horizontal line or a radiant sign, that is, either an obelus or an asterisk, and wherever he sees a preceding virgule,2 from there to the two points which we have marked in, he knows more is to be found in the (version of the) Seventy interpreters; and where he has looked at the image of a star,3 he will have recognized an addition from the Hebrew scrolls, likewise up to the two points,4 only according to the edition of Theodotion who did not differ from the Seventy interpreters in simplicity of speech. I, knowing myself to have done this for you and for each studious person, do not doubt there will be many who, either envious or arrogant, “prefer to be seen to condemn the brilliant rather than to learn,”5 and to drink from a turbulent river much rather than from an entirely pure spring.


1 This is an oblique reference to Jerome’s use of the obelus, which is a “sideways” mark: ÷
2 Virgule = obelus
3 Jerome’s asterisk mark was ※
4 Like our colon mark :
5 A saying of unknown origin.

*We thank Kevin Edgecomb for permission to publish his translation on our page.

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Updated 2/17/2014, by MS

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