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March 29, 1963 - Image 38

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1963-03-29

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Examples of Elizabethan Psalmody and Midrashic


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World Zionist
Congress Slated to
Convene in August

(Direct JTA Teletype Wire to
The Jewish News)

World Zionist Congress will be
convened in August, 1964, the
committee on problems of the
World Zionist actions Committee
decided Tuesday.
The committee heard a re-
port by Dr. Nahum Goldmann,
president of the World Zionist
Organization, and then decided
to set up a committee on struc-
tural problems of the Zionist
movement. The committee will
be made up of representatives
of the movement from Israel and
from countries outside. Israel. It
will present proposals to the
next session of the World Zionist
Actions Committee.

New Viscount Samuel's
_ Book Due on April 12

"My Friend Musa and Other
Stories," by Edwin Samuel, the
new Viscount Samuel, will be
published April 12 by Abelard-
The author succeeded his fa-
ther, Sir Herbert Louis Samuel,
of Mt. Carmel and first High
Commissioner of Palestine, who
died last month at 92.
The present Viscount Samuel
is a lecturer in British govern-
ment and institutions at the
Hebrew University in Jerusalem
and is well-known in the U. S.
as an administrator and fund-
raiser. He is currently teaching
at the State University of New
York in Albany. "My Friend
Musa" follows his "A Cottage
in Galilee" and "A Coat of Many
Colours," two other collections
of short stories.
The Samuels settled in Liver-
pool at the end of the 18th cen-
tury. The late Viscount Samuel,
son of a banker, was parliamen-
tary leader of the Liberal Party
in the House of Lords from 1944
to 1050 and the author of sev-
eral works of philosophy. As a
young man fresh out of Oxford.
he numbered Bernard Shaw and
the Fabian Socialists among his
Besides his academic honors
from Columbia University and
Oxford, the present Viscount
Samuel holds the Companion of
the Order of St. Michael and St.
George (C.M.G.) for overseas
service under the Crown. He has
been Principal of the Public Ad-
in Israel -since 1948.
. ,


Inspiration for Research on Book of Psalms Created

by Psalter by Sir Philip Sidney, Countess Pembroke

"The Psalms of Sir Philip Sidney and the Countess of Pem-
broke," just issued as a Doubleday Anchor original paperback,
with an introduction by 27-year-old John C. A. Rathmell, now a
Research Fellow and director of studies in English at Christ
College, Cambridge, England, is such an interesting work_ that
it is certain to draw . very wide attention.
These verse-trans4tions of the Psalms were begun by Sir
Philip Sidney, who completed the first 43 Psalms. Upon his
death, Oct. 17, 1586, in his country's service in the war with
Spain, his sister, Mary - Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke, com-
pleted the work and wrote the translations of Psalms 44 to 150.
They were known in manuscript, Rathmell states in his intro-
duction, to a few people, including Ben Jonson.
In 1823, a limited edition of 250 copies of these verse-trans-
lations was published, and, as we are informed by Rathmell, "the
collection has not been reprinted in its entirety since that date,
with the result that a fine example of Elizabethan psalmody,
justly admired in its day, is now largely unknown."
A "fanciful poem" paying tribute to what he called the
"Sydnean Psalmes" was written after the death of the Countess
of Pembroke in 1621 by Donne, and the poem is included in the
Doubleday Anchor paperback. Donne also is quoted by Rathmell
in his explanatory introduction. Rathmell states:
• "Both the Sidneys and Donne were alive to the compara-
tively recent discovery of the rabbinical scholars that the Book
of Psalms was originally written in some form of measured
verse. The name `Psalms,' writes Sidney in his 'Apologie,'
`being interpreted, is nothing but songes.' The original Book
of Psalms, he concluded, 'is fully written in meeter, as all
learned Hebricians agree, although the rules be not yet fully
found.' Donne goes further and emphasizes particularly the
economy of Hebrew poetry. In a sermon preached at Lincoln's
Inn in 1618 he declared that his 'more particular' reason for
preferring the Psalms to any other part of the Old Testament
lay in the fact that they were written in measured verse, in
`a limited, and restrained form . . . where all the words are
numbered, and measured, and weighed . . . such a form as is
both curious, and requires diligence in the making, and then
when it is made, can have nothing, no syllable taken from it,
nor added to it.' "
Thus it-was that Psalms became the "adequate and expressive
form of psalmody" in the churches.
Rathmell declares that "what is so striking about the Countess

Theme for Noteworthy Children's
Illustrated Book in 23rd Psalm

In two articles, the one on the
Sidney Psalter, on this page, and
the review of Dr. Wm. G.
Braude's "Midrash on Psalms"
on Page 33 make reference to the
most-often quoted 23rd Psalm.
Now there is the added op-
portunity to deal with the 23rd
Psalm specifically in reviewing
a most interesting book for
In "The Way of the Shep-
herd,' published by McGraw Hill
Book Co. (330 W. 42nd, NY36),
by Nora S. Unwin, who loves to
write as well as to draw, and
who has authored a number of
books for children, has written
and has beautifully illustrated
"a story of the 23rd Psalm."
It is a charming tale about a
young boy,. Azor, who is learn-
ing from "Reuben the shepherd,
his father's old friend," the
shepherd's skill. They begin the
trek through the hills and val-
leys of the Holy Land with their
sheep, often caressing lambs,
carrying them when they were
hurt, playing with them and be-
friending the flock.
The story commences,
"They stood together while
the sheep in the fold close by
remained quiet, as if they
were listening. Slowly Reu-•
ben recited while Azor joined
- in where he could remember:
" 'The lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
" 'He maketh me to lie
down in green pastures; he
leadeth me beside the still
waters,' " etc., etc., complet-

ing the Psalm as it serves as
a guide for shepherds and
Then follow the lessons and
the accompanying experiences,
with the succeeding sentences
from the 23rd Psalm dotting the
pages of this wonderful little
book of 32 pages as explanatory
Reuben advises Azor how to
care for the sheep, he shows
him how to keep them clustered
together as a flock, how to pro-
tect them from dangers.
While "the old shepherd
spoke to the sheep tenderly and
sometimes commandingly," they
faced in the same direction
while grazing, and Reuben ex-
plained to Azor their custom to
"follow their leader."
"He leadeth me beside the
still waters," the Psalm is quot-
ed as the author describes how
the flock was provided with
drinking water.
There were dangers in the
desert, and Azor watches a
snake killed, jackals, wild dogs
and eagles thwarted in their
efforts to get to the lambs.
In these fashions, "Surely
goodness and mercy shall fol-
low me all the days of my life"
becomes a powerful lesson in
the story of the 23rd Psalm—a
story written and illustrated for
children but suitable as an in-
spiration . for people of all ages.
The Psalm is usually read to
, but, as the book by
Nora S. Unwin proves, it can be
moving for all occasions.

of Pembroke's versions is the way in which they convey, alive as
it were, the impulse and the force of the Hebrew originals." He
points to the "impact on English verse of the audacious and often
bizarre imagery of the Ancient Hebrew poets."
"There is no reason to believe," Rathmell writes, "that
either Sidney or the Countess of Pembroke could read Hebrew
(Ballard's assertion to the contrary is unsubstantiated), yet it
is clear that they carefully compared the versions of the Psalms
found in the Prayer Book psalter and the two current versions
of the Bible, the Geneva Bible of 1560 and the Bishops' Bible
of 1568. They also consulted (in the English translations of
Golding and Gilby) the elaborate commentaries on the Psalms
of Calvin and Beze . . ."
A comparison of the Jewish translations and the Sidney
verses is in order and it is interesting to note the following
parallel texts of the Jewish Publication Society (1917) translation
with Sidney's of the 23rd Psalm:
Sidney's Version
The JPS Text
The Lord, the Lord my shep-
The Lord is my shepherd; I
herd is,
shall not want.
And so can never I taste
He maketh me to lie down in
green pastures;
He rests me in green pasture
He leadeth me beside the still
By waters still, and sweet
He restoreth my soul;
He guides my feet.
He guideth me in straight
paths for His name's sake . •
Hee me revives: leades me the
Which righteousness doth take,
For his names sake.
Yet though I should through
valleys stray,
Of deathes dark shade, I will
Noe Whitt feare ill. . . .
And here is a comparison of the JPS and Countess of Pem-
broke translations of Psalm 137:
The Countess' Version
The JPS Text
Nigh seated where the river
By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down, yea, we
That watreth Babells thanckfull
When we remembered Zion.
Which then our teares in pearl-
Upon the willows in the midst
ed rowes
Did help to water with their
We hanged up our harps.
For there they that led us
The thought of Sion bred such
captive asked of us words
of song,
That though our harpes we did
And our tormentors asked of
us mirth:
Yet uselesse, and untouched
"Sing us one of the songs of
On willowes only , hang'd they
How shall we sing the Lord's

Now while harpes were hanged
In a foreign land?
If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem,
The men whose captives they
May my right hand forget her
we lay
Did on our griefs insulting goc,
Let my tongue cleave to the
And more to grieve us, thus
roof of my mouth,
did say:
If I remember thee not,
You that of musique make such
If I set not Jerusalem
Above my chiefest joy .
Come sing us a Sion lay.
0 no, we have nor voice, ,nor
For such a song, in such a land.
Though faire I lye, sweete Sion
In forraine soile exil'd from
Yet let my hand forgett his
If ever thou forgotten be:
And lett my tongue fast glued
Unto my roofe ly mute in me:
If they neglect within me
Or ought I do, but Salem sing.
And here is a comparison of the JPS and Countess of
Pembroke translations of Psalm 137:
It will be noted that the version of the Countess is much
longer than either the original or the JPS translation.
Rathmell's editorial comments, the texts of the Sidney-Pem-
broke verses and the evaluations of psalmody as well as of the
importance of Psalters in religious services of all faiths become
evident in this new paperback. It is a noteworthy book that will
undoubtedly serve to create new interest in the study of the
Coupled with the invaluable work by Dr. William G. Braude,
"The Midrash on Pgalms," and other works on the Book of Psalms,
we have new inspiration in psalmodic research. —P. S.





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