The Editio critica maior of the Greek Psalter

For more than hundred years the major critical edition of the Old Testament in Greek, the so-called Septuagint, is being prepared in Göttingen: From 1908 to 2015, the “Septuaginta-Unternehmen” was responsible for this edition, and since 2016, a research commission, called “Kommission zur Edition und Erforschung der Septuaginta”.

In 2020, a new long-term Academy project is established: “Die Editio critica maior des griechischen Psalters”. This project is exclusively dedicated to the edition of the Greek Psalter. The Psalter belongs to the most widespread, complex, and extensively interpreted books in the Bible. As a liturgical prayer and individual meditation book, it combines Judaism with Western and Orthodox Christianity. Its influence on poetry (e.g. Arnold Schönberg, Moderne Psalmen; Paul Celan, Tenebrae), music (e.g. Igor Stravinsky, Symphony of Psalms; Leonard Bernstein, Chichester Psalms), and visual arts (e.g. Marc Chagall, Psalms of David) reaches up to the present and makes it one of the fundamental texts of European literature, and world literature as well.

The aim of the new Psalter project is to explore the tradition and textual history of the Greek Psalter, and to prepare a new critical edition of the Septuagint Psalms and Odes for the Göttingen series, which will substitute the outdated edition by Alfred Rahlfs (1931). At the end, the critically reconstructed text is promised to be provided in a hybrid edition, printed as a book and presented online.

Currently, the Göttingen Psalter Team is preparing descriptions of all the Greek Psalter manuscripts. A beta version of the Manuscript Catalogue is already online. Please note, that this Catalogue is still work in progress, and further descriptions will be added soon. We are happy to announce that a cooperation with Pinakes (IRHT, Paris) has been established, and links to our descriptions will be provided in Pinakes.