From: Ben Crick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Oct 20 1998 - 23:10:36 EDT
On Tue 20 Oct 98 (13:53:29), email@example.com wrote:
> Is this the same distinction that we find in the numbering of the
> Psalms in Protestant vs. Catholic Bibles? In other words, does MT
> numbering match one, and LXX numbering match the other?
Jonathan and Paul:
In the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, it says "The Psalter followeth
the division of the Hebrews, and the translation of the great English
The Division of the Hebrews is the Masoretic Text ordering of the Psalms.
This is different from the order in the Septuagint, and different again
from the order in Jerome's Biblia Sacra Vulgata.
In the LXX, Psalms 9 and 10 are joined; 114 and 115 are joined; but Psalms
116 and 117 are both divided (to restore the total to 150).
In the Vulgate, Psalms 9 and 10 are joined; whilst Psalm 117 is divided.
Archbishop Cranmer's decision to return to the "numbering of the Hebrews"
marks a distinct advance over the confusion in the LXX and the Vulgate.
The English /Jerusalem Bible/ of 1966 is a modern Roman Catholic Bible
with Apocrypha wherein the Psalter follows the "numbering of the Hebrews",
so this is not a simple "Protestant v. Catholic" issue.
My Holy Bible software suite uses the "Universal Canonaclised Numbering"
or UCN which enables auto-tracking of Bible versions that use different
chapter/verse numberings. UCN is based on the Hebrew Bible (Biblia
Hebraica Stuttgartensia). It is normal for scholarly works to quote
Biblical references from the Hebrew Bible to aid consistency.
Most English translations do not comply with UCN, but do generally agree
amongst themselves: which shows their common derivation from the work of
John Wyclif in the 14th century. Some English Versions re-order verses
but keep the same numberings: e.g. Exodus 22:1-5 in the NRSV.
The Great English Bible of 1539 was a new edition of Matthew's Bible
revised and compared with the Hebrew by Coverdale and others, and
published with a preface by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. This was set up
in churches (chained up to prevent theft) and ordered to be read to the
Because of the familiarity of the people with it, this version of the
Psalter was retained for chanting in church, although the King James
Bible of 1611 was authorised for public reading of the Lessons in the
Prayer Book of 1662. Coverdale's Psalter is more rhythmical and suitable
for chanting, although on places it is more of a paraphrase than a
I don't know why the LXX scholars used a different numbering of the Psalms.
No doubt their exemplar of the Hebrew Text had the Psalms so ordered. Our
familiar chapter and verse divisions were introduced much later.
-- Revd Ben Crick, BA CF <firstname.lastname@example.org> 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK) http://www.cnetwork.co.uk/crick.htm
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