contributor.author: Philip Rusche

title.none: Pulsiano, Old English Glossed Psalters Psalms 1-50 (Philip Rusche)

identifier.other: baj9928.0209.033 02.09.33

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Philip Rusche, University of Nevada - Las Vegas, ruschep@unlv.edu

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2002

identifier.citation: Pulsiano, Phillip, ed. Old English Glossed Psalters Psalms 1-50. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001. Pp. lv, 742. $100.00. ISBN: 0-8020-4470-0.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 02.09.33

Pulsiano, Phillip, ed. Old English Glossed Psalters Psalms 1-50. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001. Pp. lv, 742. $100.00. ISBN: 0-8020-4470-0.

Reviewed by:

Philip Rusche
University of Nevada - Las Vegas
ruschep@unlv.edu

The death of Phill Pulsiano in August 2000 was a great loss to medievalists. This book, published posthumously, contains a truly awe-inspiring amount of information and stands as a worthy testament to his scholarship and contribution to the community of Anglo-Saxonists. The book is the first of a projected four volumes that would finally present the long-awaited complete edition of all extant Anglo-Saxon psalters and psalter glosses, first suggested in 1889 by Henri Logeman and laid out methodologically by Pulsiano in a paper read at a conference on Anglo-Saxon glossography in 1986 ("A Proposal for a Collective Edition of the Old English Glossed Psalters" in Anglo-Saxon Glossography ed. R. Derolez, [Brussels, 1992], 167-187).

The first three volumes are to contain an edition of the psalter, divided into sets of fifty psalms, drawn from all surviving psalter manuscripts written or owned in England before 1100, plus two from the twelfth century that also contain Old English glosses. All Old English glosses found in the manuscripts will be included (excepting syntactic glosses), as well as variant readings and other critical apparatus for the Latin text. The fourth volume is to contain a full critical introduction as well as an edition of the Latin glosses and commentaries that also occur in some manuscripts. Such an edition is a monumental undertaking (volume one alone runs to 739 pages), and one which few scholars besides Professor Pulsiano are equipped to carry out, but with the framework laid out in this first volume and in his 1986 paper as a guide, it is to be hoped that the remaining volumes can be finished. As Pulsiano notes, it is only through collation of all the manuscripts that the true relationships between psalters can be determined, and as his important article "The Originality of the Old English Gloss of the Vespasian Psalter and its Relation to the Gloss of the Junius Psalter," Anglo-Saxon England 25 (1996), 37-62, shows, much previous scholarship that is based on partial transcriptions or comparison of only a few psalters must be reexamined and perhaps overturned. The information to be revealed by a complete comparison of the texts and glosses has wide-ranging implications for manuscript studies, the relationships and ties between various ecclesiastical centers, methods of vernacular translation, Old English dialect studies, and more.

This volume begins with a short introduction giving brief descriptions of the psalter manuscripts containing Old English glosses, followed by even briefer descriptions of the unglossed Anglo-Saxon psalters. These descriptions are limited in scope, giving the barest contents of the manuscript, their shelfmark, numbers in Ker's Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon and Gneuss's "Preliminary List of Manuscripts Written or Owned in England up to 1100," Anglo-Saxon England 9 (1981), 1-60, their date and origin if known, which version of the psalter they contain, and the extent and language(s) of the glosses, as well as references to fuller descriptions, other editions and works that discuss problems in the manuscript's dating or origin. For the most part, these descriptions are adequate and are fairly precise in giving the contents of the manuscripts, but they do not note consistently whether the glosses were by the same scribe(s) as the text or even whether they are contemporary. The resulting impression is one of greater uniformity in glossing than actually exists. Occasionally the entries leave out information; for example, the description of the Eadwine Psalter does not mention that the canticles are glossed as well, although this is noted for several other manuscripts. Several of the unglossed psalters were written elsewhere before coming to England, and usually it is noted whether or not it is known when and to where the manuscripts came to England. Some of the descriptions, however, fail to include such information.

The introduction also contains two appendices. The first contains an edition of the 26 "red" glosses from the Blickling Psalter (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, M. 776), apparently the oldest psalter glosses since they have been dated to the late eighth or early ninth century. Although they have never been printed in their entirety (or correctly) in one place before, their inclusion here seems superfluous, since they simply reproduce information that is given at the appropriate points throughout the edition itself; simply listing the psalm and verse numbers would have sufficed. The second appendix lists the words (with psalm and verse number) that begin and end each folio for each of the glossed psalters, since the edition itself does not record folio divisions.

The introduction also includes a brief discussion of the layout of the edition, following for the most part the guidelines set down in Pulsiano's 1986 paper though with some development over the years. It is this layout that is the crucial aspect of this edition, and Pulsiano seems to have taken nearly everything into account in determining how best to present this difficult and vast amount of material. The edition itself prints the Latin text of psalter, based on the Roman version in Robert Weber's 1983 Stuttgart edition, vertically word by word down the left hand column of the page. To the right of each Latin word there is a comprehensive list of all the Old English glosses that occur in the manuscripts. There is of course no emendation or editorial intervention besides the expansion of abbreviations (with the letters underlined), the regularization of word-spacing, and the omission of punctuation, which is necessitated by the layout. At the end of each psalm there is a critical apparatus divided into six sections: the first presents variants from this edition with the readings from previous editions; the next gives textual notes on the Old English glosses; then the variant readings of the Latin text from the glossed Roman manuscripts are given; then variants from the unglossed Roman manuscripts; and the two final sections give the variants from the glossed and unglossed Gallican manuscripts.

This layout reveals a number of problems inherent in presenting this material. Many manuscripts omit or supply words, some preserve the Gallican version rather than the Roman, the word order of the glosses does not always follow the order of the Latin, and so on. Thus, rather than present a standard edition of the psalter, Pulsiano has in effect converted the text of the psalms into a list of headwords of a glossary, and he relies on a series of symbols and punctuation marks to supply clues to his readers. (Fortunately, the symbols are collected on the last page of the book, along with the manuscript sigla). Thus, Latin words that are from the Gallican text appear in parentheses, words occurring in individual manuscripts appear in angled brackets, variation in the word order of the glosses are marked by a vertical line between the Latin text and the gloss, etc. This last example gives a good indication of some of the problems in using this material: what to do when glosses do not follow the textual order. Thus, at Psalm 1.2, where the Lambeth Psalter glosses the phrase uoluntas eius with "his willa" instead of the more common "willa his", Pulsiano opts to give "his" as a gloss to uoluntas and "willa" as a gloss to eius for the Lambeth entries. This format is of course somewhat artificial in forcing the break up of phrases into individual words and presenting apparently "wrong" glosses or mistranslations; yet it is the only way to show that Lambeth differs from the other manuscripts in following a more natural Old English word order for this gloss, and Pulsiano's highlighting of them with the vertical line makes it easy to find such instances to those working on the grammar and syntax of the glosses.

It should be clear that this book is not an edition that can be read, but rather a reference work for those working on the psalter texts or their glosses. It is perhaps instructive to compare it with Scott Gwara's recent CCSL edition of Aldhelm's De virginitate (Turnhout: Brepols, 2001), the second most heavily glossed text in Anglo-Saxon England. Gwara also prints all the glosses from the manuscripts and by doing so achieves many of the same goals set forth by Pulsiano, yet Gwara's main purpose is the production of a definitive, and readable, edition of Aldhelm's text. His treatment of the glosses are secondary and he is content not to divide phrases and to place glosses with lemmata even when they are placed over other words or in the margins. These differences reveal fundamental differences in the use of these two volumes and the nature of the glosses themselves. For Pulsiano the glosses themselves are the text, and it is the relationships between them that are of central importance in this edition. One can derive a critical edition of the psalter from this book, for it has all the information available, but the book itself presents the Latin primarily as a context for the glosses.

The centrality of the Old English glosses and the comparison to Gwara's edition give rise to the only complaint I have about this volume: it presents only the Old English glosses. For a long time it has been the trend in editions of glosses from Anglo-Saxon manuscripts to record only the vernacular glosses and omit the Latin, yet this practice obscures crucial information. In her general preface to the volume, Roberta Frank states that "Psalter glosses provide a complicated map to the relations among manuscripts, and serve as potential guides to their origin and provenance, to the links between centres, and to liturgical customs. They also provide important data for the lexicographer" (p. vii). All this is certainly true for Latin glosses as well, and their omission can distort the map. The inclusion of the Latin glosses and longer commentary here would also allow conclusions to be drawn concerning their influence on the Old English glosses, whether in matters of simple translation or of theological or liturgical points, as mentioned in recent studies by Mechthild Gretsch (The Intellectual Foundations of the English Benedictine Reform [Cambridge, 1999]) and Evert Weisenekker (Word be Worde, Andgit of Angite: Translation Performance in the Old English Interlinear Glosses of the Vespasian, Regius and Lambeth Psalters [Huizen, 1991]). The interlinear Latin glosses, which are quite rare in most of the manuscripts, could be placed alongside the Old English glosses, perhaps in italics to differentiate them, and the longer commentary could be placed at the foot of each verse. To banish them to the fourth volume creates a false division between the two sets of glosses and obscures much of the material for comparison that Pulsiano is otherwise so careful to present.

The book is very well produced, and seems to contain very few errors. I compared several of the psalms against the materials available to me, the facsimile of the Vespasian Psalter (ed. David Wright, Early English Manuscripts in Facsimile 14 [Copenhagen, 1967]) and Pulsiano's volume on Psalters in the Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile series (Binghamton, NY, 1994). From this comparison, the edition seems very accurate. I noted only two errors from the Vespasian Psalter: at Psalm 2.5, the et is noted as Et, but the manuscript does not have a capital here; and at Psalm 3.5 the gloss to clamaui is printed as "is cleopede" instead of "ic cleopede". The Lambeth Psalter reads "Asperges" for "Asparges" at Psalm 50.9, but this is not noted. As far as typographical errors in the introduction, I noted only the omission of a colon (:) missing between "cataracte" and "forsceta" on p. xxxvii.

In spite of the massive amount of work done here, the volume clearly shows how much more can be done in the study of Anglo-Saxon psalters -- the mark of a truly excellent work -- and it makes available the material with which to do it. Hopefully the remaining volumes will be brought out as well, including the Latin commentary. It would also be useful if these volumes included the glossed cantica, mentioned in the 1986 proposal but not in the introduction to this volume, and, most importantly, a complete series of indices of the Latin and Old English words, which would greatly add to their utility. This book will certainly be the most valuable reference work for Anglo-Saxonists working on any aspect of psalter manuscripts and their texts for the foreseeable future.