| Foreword, by Rev. Joseph Harker
Near the opening of the previous century, the essayist Marcel
Proust famously pronounced that "The voyage of discovery
consists not seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
Now, as our new century continues to unfold, adventurers who
seek the truth within the pages of the Holy Bible are acquiring
new eyes through which to reconnoiter a landscape that was
already ancient when Saint Jerome first popularized it in Latin
some sixteen centuries ago.
Rev. Cunyus' translation of Psalms is thus new and age-old in
a single stroke. But just how old is it? Is it freshly minted, since
his word-choices in his new English translation represent a
"vernacular" for the 21st century? Or perhaps his work is really
1600 years old, since it consists partly of Jerome's masterful
translation into the "vulgar" Latin of the later Roman Imperium.
Then again, the words of the Psalmist stretch back to the
original Israelite worship of God before the Ark of the
Covenant. To be honest, John's work stretches back to the
very origin of the human race, in its attempt to put the things of
God into "modern" human language. In all those millennia, God
hasn't changed; neither has human nature, for that matter.
Only the words change, while the Psalm remains the same.
And therein likes the power of Jerome's text in the hands of the
modern (or post-modern) reader; these words from Psalms in
Latin have shaped the poetry, religion, and world-view of the
West. For those of us in need of a translation to understand
Jerome's Latin text, Rev. Cunyus' gift has been to show us the
pervasive similarity between age-old Latin and the English of
our own time. Although my Latin was never very good, even I
am struck by the cognates which my own faltering eye can
discern. To limit myself to a single example, the Latin phrase de
profundis, that begins Vulgate Psalm 129 for instance, conjures
up new images "out of the depths" of my own soul; reminding
me of just how profound the Bible is, in any language.
New eyes indeed.
Reverend Joseph Harker
January 28, 2009
|ISBN # 978-0-9644609-9-7
ISBN # 978-0-9644609-8-0
©2009, John G. Cunyus
All Rights to the English Translation and
All Rights to Cover art Reserved.
Latin text from “The Latin Vulgate.” Biblia Sacra
Iuxta Vulgatam Versionem, Fourth Revised
Edition, edited by Roger Gryson,
© 1994 Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.
Used by permission.
|The Audacity of Prayer
A Fresh Translation
of the Book of Psalms
Read a Sample
Read Rev. Harker's Foreword
How to Pray the Psalms
About Audacity of Prayer