First printed Psalter

Author unknown
Genre Psalter, Religious
Original title První žaltář tištěný
Editor Svobodová, Andrea
Publisher oddělení vývoje jazyka Ústavu pro jazyk český AV ČR, v. v.
Place of publication Praha
Year of publication 2019
Repository Královská kanonie premonstrátů na Strahově
TEI encoding Lehečka, Boris
Translator Pokus
View Edition

Editorial Note

Text of the preface: origin and authorship

The fourth Czech biblical translation was prepared and published in stages. For the first time is found in the First Printed Psalter (Žaltář první tištěný, Prague) from 1487, accompanied by a translator´s preface with the incipit Ne tak zjevně a otevřeně („Not so apparently and openly“). For the printer was originally marked Jonata z Vysokého Mýta, however, for lack of evidence was often also marked anonymously as Printer of the Psalter. Recently, he was identified with Martin of Tišnov (cfr. Jaroslav Vobr, Kdo byl prvním pražským knihtiskařem v roce 1487?, Miscellanea oddělení rukopisů a starých tisků Národní knihovny v Praze 10, 3, Praha, p. 24–38; Kamil Boldan, Písař a tiskař Martin z Tišnova, Studie o rukopisech 42, 2012, p. 7–27; Petr Voit, Katalog prvotisků Strahovské knihovny v Praze, Praha 2015, p. 671, No. P-121; Petr Voit, Český knihtisk mezi pozdní gotikou a renesancí II, Tiskaři pro víru i tiskaři pro obrození národa 1498–1547, Praha 2017, p. 159).In its entirety (including the translator´s preface), the new biblical translation was printed one year later in the so-called Prague Bible (Bible pražská, Prague, unknown printer, 1488; siglum: BiblPraž) and in other prints: Kutná Hora Bible (Bible kutnohorská, Kutná Hora, Martin z Tišnova 1489; siglum: BiblKutn) and Venice Bible (Bible benátská, Venice, Peter Liechtenstein 1506; siglum: BiblKutn). The second print of the separated Psalter, so-called Bakalář‘s Psalter (Žaltář Bakalářův, 1499) omitted the preface intentionally, although in terms of text belongs to the fourth redaction. On the other side, in one case the preface also survived in one manuscript from the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries: Old Testament with Large Script (Starý zákon obrovských písmen, Prague, National Library, shelfmark XVII A 36; siglum: BiblObrSZ), probably copied from Kutná Hora Bible. Another surviving manuscript copy of the fourth Psalter translation, Žaltář Švehlův (Švehla´s Psalter, Olomouc, Reseach Library in Olomouc, shelfmark M II 47, 1496, fols. 1r–63r) from 1496, misses the beginning and it is therefore unknown if the preface was included. The preface to the Psalter was later in the revisited version is also included in the Bibles of the 16th century before the Bible of Kralice (Bible kralická 1579–1593), it means in the prints of Severin (1529, 1537), Melantrich (1549, 1556, 1560, 1570) and Veleslavín (1613).

The preface Ne tak zjevně a otevřeně does not have the direct Latin original as most of the biblical prologues do, but it is the original work of the author of new (fourth) translation of the Book of Psalms. It deals with the difficulty of the translation of this metaphorical poetic text. It outlines the problems of translation by word in comparison with translation by sense, which aims to preserve the aesthetic value and factual accuracy. The prologue also attempts to defend the new Czech translation of the Psalter, which tries to specify some unclear places based on the Latin version, Psalterium iuxta Hebraeos. At the end, the author teaches readers about the name Psalter according to the musical instrument, and finally, explains the function of the so-called titles included before each psalms, which briefly sum up the spiritual meaning of the text.

Regarding the authorship of the new Psalter translation, Josef Vintr considered Václav Koranda mladší (1425–1519), the administrator of the utraquist church and the rector of the Charles University, to be the author. Cfr. Josef Vintr, Prvotisky českého žaltáře, in: Čeština v pohledu synchronním a diachronním: stoleté kořeny Ústavu pro jazyk český, Světla Čmejrková – Jana Hoffmannová – Jana Klímová (eds.), Praha 2012, p. 179–184.His attribution is based on the Czech equivalent nevěrný for the Latin adjective impius, typical for Koranda´s work (the three previous Psalter translations used word nemilostivý). However, Koranda´s participation on the new biblical translation does not seem very likely considering his workload. Neither Jindřich Marek, the author of the monography dedicated to this important person (Václav Koranda Mladší: Utrakvistický administrátor a literát, Praha 2017), does not state any relationship between Koranda and the new Bible translation.It is therefore possible to say in general that the author was connected to the Utraquist or university environment, which was identified by usage of some words and religious terms different from the previous pre-Hussite period. For example, the Old Czech lexem náprava, in the preface used as a synonym to nástroj (e.g. věděti máš, že žaltář jest nástroj aneb náprava hudby 2v) – and in the meaning ‚instrument, tool‘ appears only in the texts of the second half of the 15th century. Another typical phenomenon is use of the synonym pairs in the amplification function, that ornates and intensifies the expression (e. g. zjevně a otevřeně „apparently and openly“; prosili i žádali „they prayed and asked“; skryté a tajné „hidden and secret“; obecná a zvyklá „general and usual“; s příkrostí a krutostí „with dispair and cruelty“), and frequent use of iterative forms for the action repeated in the past (mluvievatičítatiukracovatiutiekati sě) – these stylistic elements can be abundantly also found in the texts from the last decades of the 15th century.

First printed Psalter

Edition

Czech original and English translation
Královská kanonie premonstrátů na Strahově, DP VI 16

MECZ [online], First printed Psalter, ed. unknown, trans. Překladatel, Franta. KREAS Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Retrieved 25.05.2020, from https://mecz.kreas.ff.cuni.cz/publication/first-printed-psalter/ Citace bibtext

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