Göttingen, 30 June 2023


The Psalter project, with a duration of 21 years, is divided into six modules of three and a half years each. The first module began in January 2020. Due to underfunding by the state of Lower Saxony, the staff planned and required for the project could not be hired until January 2021. The ceremonial opening finally took place, postponed due to the corona pandemic, from 1–3 December 2021 in the context of an international colloquium as a hybrid event, the proceedings of which are currently being prepared for printing. Now, at the end of June 2023, the first module has been completed and it is time to take stock:*

Digitisation of the Existing Manuscript Collection

The existing manuscript holdings (microfilms, paper photos of the former Septuaginta-Unternehmen) were successfully digitised as part of the first module. At the end of the first module, the image database is populated with 244,492 images. The image material includes not only Psalter manuscripts, but manuscripts of the entire Septuagint that were acquired during the term of the Septuaginta-Unternehmen (1908–2015). In addition, missing Psalter manuscript images have been acquired from around the world since 2020. These acquisitions will continue in the coming years to complete the image database.

Description of 1,300 Psalter Manuscripts

As part of the first module, a total of 1,300 Psalter manuscripts have been successfully described since January 2021. The descriptions were prepared by Dr Margherita Matera, Dr Georgi Parpulov, Dr Maria Tomadaki and Dr Felix Albrecht. The descriptions are available via the online catalogue of the Psalter project and are under CC licence. Since December 2021, the descriptions have been accompanied by blogposts, which highlight individual aspects or deal with larger contexts of the manuscript tradition of the Greek Psalter. It is planned to continue reporting on the ongoing work in the form of blogposts.

Building a Collation Database

The collation database of the Psalter project consists of two parts: The first part comprises the collations for the first critical apparatus. The necessary digitisation of the 76 collation notebooks was successfully completed in spring 2023. The second part comprises the collations for the second so-called hexaplaric apparatus. The construction of the Hexapla Database was also begun within the framework of the first module. A programming challenge in the coming years will be to create the edition from this collation database. A preliminary edition of the entire Psalter with the first and second apparatus, the latter already being fed from the database, was put online as part of the first module (access required). The programming of the entire platform of the Psalter project is in the hands of Malte Rosenau, who is also Vice-Head of the Research Unit.

We look forward to starting the new second module in July 2023. The second module, which is entitled “The Lucianic-Antiochene Text Type” is reserved for the identification of this complexly attested text type, which represents one of the Christian revisions of the oldest text form of the Septuagint Psalter. The new module runs from July 2023 to December 2026.

Dr Felix Albrecht (Head of the Research Unit)

* A detailed report on the period 2020–2021 has been published as an addendum to the Yearbook of the Academy: R.G. Kratz: Die Editio critica maior des griechischen Psalters, in: Niedersächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen (ed.): Jahrbuch der Niedersächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen. 2020/2021, Göttingen: Universitätsverlag 2023, 314–317 (addendum).