The Ecumenical Grail Psalter Paperback by Conception Abbey

The Grail Psalter was published in 1963 – the translation was an attempt to replicate some of the rhythms of Hebrew poetry (found in the Psalms) into the English translation. This was revised in 1983 to make the translation more inclusive horizontally (that is, with reference to humans). A further light revision in 1992 tried to avoid gender specific pronouns wherever possible.

But, as with so much under Pope Benedict, a new English translation was made – gender exclusive. This was published in 2010 and approved by the Vatican. There are several modified versions of it.

There was a desire to have a version of this Revised Grail Psalter which is a more accurate translation of the original Hebrew and also more inclusive, conforming to contemporary English usage. A recent comment here pointed to this Ecumenical Grail Psalter being online.

Previously I wrote in anticipation of the Revised Grail Psalter. And then I wrote three posts about that Revised Grail Psalter (1, 2, 3).

In that last post, I carefully examined Psalm 2 in the Revised Grail Psalter. I will now see whether the Ecumenical Grail Psalter (following using italics) improves this.

Verse 2 is the first change from the Revised Grail Psalter:

2 They arise, the kings of the earth;
princes plot against the LORD and his Anointed.


2 They arise, the rulers of the earth;
nobles plot against the LORD and his Anointed.

The next change is

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the LORD derides and mocks them.


4 The One who sits in the heavens laughs;
the LORD derides and mocks them.

Arguably, “The One” makes this more inclusive, but that is lost in the next breath when the Ecumenical Grail continues

5 Then the Lord will speak in his anger,
and strike them with terror and rage.

which not only has “his” but adds an extra “Lord” not present in either the original text or the Revised Grail which had

5 Then he will speak in his anger,
his rage will strike them with terror.

Verse 6 in Ecumenical Grail is identical to Revised Grail:

6 “It is I who have appointed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”

But, you immediately spot, Ecumenical Grail having removed “kings” in verse 1 has now lost a central point of the psalm – The kings of the earth plot against God’s anointed whom God has appointed as his king on Zion!

Verse 7 is unchanged. Verse 8 changes

8 Ask of me and I will give you
the nations as your inheritance,
and the ends of the earth as your possession.


8 “Ask of me and I will make nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth as your possession.

I’m struggling to see the point of that change. Help me?

Verse 9 unchanged. Verse 10 is changed to be consistent with 1:

10 So now, O kings, understand;
take warning, rulers of the earth.


10 So now, O rulers, understand;
take warning, nobles of the earth.

Verse 11 – unchanged. Verse 12

12 lest he be angry and you perish on the way,
for suddenly his anger will blaze.
Blessed are all who trust in God!

admittedly is made more inclusive as:

12 lest God be angry and you perish on the way
in the sudden blaze of God’s anger.
Blessed are all who trust in God!

In conclusion, from the limitations of examining one psalm carefully, I continue to find the Revised Grail Psalter unimpressive, and the Ecumenical Grail Psalter a slight improvement in some areas with a surprising loss in others.

I will purchase the Ecumenical Psalter – just because of my interest in the Psalms and Psalm translations, but I will not be switching to it in my daily prayer. There is also The Ecumenical Grail Psalter – Singing Version which also interests me.

What do you think?

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