This page will be used to provide the project description and an index for blog posts and other files.
The Distilled Prayer project is a long-term study of the Venerable Bede’s Abbreviated Psalter. My goal is to work through this project in this blog and I look forward to your suggestions. I call this project ‘distilled prayer’ because that is exactly what Bede has done with his abbreviated psalter. To distill means to concentrate, or to separate or extract the essential elements of something from a larger entity.
Bede’s Abbreviated Psalter is a collection of abbreviations of every psalm in order. These abbreviations range from a half a line, just a few words, to half a dozen verses for the longer psalms or just those he valued. In effect, Bede created a new prayerbook from verses of the psalter. Understanding why he created the abbreviated psalter and how it was to be used is the goal of this project.
Goal revision 2/24/08: To understand the origins of the breviate pslater and its effect on the development of later devotional books and prayers.
Expected segments of this project (to date):
- Review existing literature on the Abbreviated Psalter
- Review 7-8th century use of the psalter in Britain and Ireland.
- Reformat Browne’s translation to remove all of the critical apparatus, verse numbers and spaces between the abbreviated psalms so that it can be read continuously as the earliest manuscripts formatted it. Make observations on reading it in this manner.
- Review Bede’s use of the Abbreviated Psalter and the psalms in general. Some of the newer editions of his works have a good enough critical apparatus to make this possible.
- Do an abbreviated psalter myself with the Book of Common Prayer psalter. Make observations on this process and its uses.
- Review modern theology and meditations on the psalms.
- Summarize findings and discussion on a web page and/or perhaps a small book.
Bede’s Abbreviated Psalter
- Browne’s Abbreviated Psalter (Lit review)
- Cassiodorus’ Serpent Devouring Deer
- Bede’s Self-Imposed Rules
- Bede’s Abbreviated Psalm 41/42
- Ward’s “Bede and the Psalter”
- PW: Trumberht, Bede’s Teacher
- Breath of the Psalter
- Bede’s Book of Hymns
- Bede’s Book of Hymns II
- Bede and the Codex Amiatinus
- Psalm 137 in Bede’s Psalter
- Cologne MS 106: The Book of Hildebald
Early Medieval Breviate Psalters
- Abbreviated Psalter of the Book of Cerne
- PW: Bishop Æthelwald of Lindisfarne
- The Lichfield Angel and Its Content
- Aethelwald’s 96
- Irish Psalter Divisions
- 365 Verses or 365 Prayers
See the page on Evolving Prayer Books for the development of devotional books without breviate psalters and after the Book of Cerne.