Polyglot Psalter


A Hebrew psalm-book with parallel Greek, Latin and English translations.

What are Psalms?

The Book of Psalms (in Hebrew Tehilim meaning ‘praises’) forms part of Ketuvim (Writings), the third section in the Hebrew Bible. It is a collection of 150 spiritual hymns, lamentations and prayers that according to tradition were composed by King David, one of the earliest kings of ancient Israel (r. ca.1000 BCE). Historically, the Psalms were part of the daily service in the Jerusalem Temple, which was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. They were meant to be chanted while accompanied by stringed musical instruments. Nowadays they are an integral part of the Christian and Jewish liturgy, and are frequently recited and sung at church and synagogue services.

The manuscript

Written on paper by an anonymous scholar for his own use, this polyglot psalter contains side-by-side the Hebrew version of Psalms (right column), the Septuagint Greek translation (middle column) and the translation into Latin (left column). Starting with f. 4v, a fourth column containing the English translation was added intermittently. Polyglot manuscripts such as these have greatly assisted the study of the history of scripture and its interpretation.

View images of the entire manuscripts via our Digitised Manuscripts website.

Full title:
Polyglot Psalter
Hebrew / Ancient Greek / Latin
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Harley MS 2427

Full catalogue details

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