In 1990 a Petition was brought to the Synod of the R. P. Church of Ireland urging Synod, ‘to commission the Psalmody Committee to proceed with a modern version of the Psalter with the utmost haste.’ The Committee had already been giving serious thought to this matter and in its report to the Synod had asked it to advise, ‘on the whole matter of future revision.’ Synod subsequently commissioned the Committee to proceed with a complete revision of the 1979 Psalter. The following year Synod approved the following strategy:–
1. The words must be an accurate translation of the original.
2. The meaning must be readily understood. Thus archaic language must be replaced and contorted syntax eliminated. Awkward and contracted words should be avoided.
3. While we should strive for rhyme we should not be limited by an absolute necessity for it.
4. New tunes with new metres should be incorporated. It was later agreed that unused tunes be deleted.
5. Some well-loved Scottish Metrical versions should be retained side by side with the revisions.
6. This strategy should be applied to versions currently available rather than starting from scratch with only the Hebrew text. (It was later agreed that the main resources for revision groups should be Hebrew interlinear text, the New American Standard Version and the New International Version, together with the past and current Psalters of the R. P. Church of Ireland and the R. P. Church of North America, and the revised versions of the Free Church of Scotland and the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia. The co-operation of the last three bodies in giving permission to use ideas and portions is gratefully acknowledged.)
7. As new versions become available these should be sent round the congregations for use, comment and helpful suggestions.
It was also agreed that the divine names used in this book should reflect those used in the original Hebrew. The word Lord has been used as a translation of Adonai, one of the titles for God. When the special name,YHWH, (which is not pronounced by the Jews) is used for God, this has consistently been translated as LORD.
As the work proceeded the Committee decided to set up Basic Revision Groups as widely as possible. Much effort went into selecting and training them and they did excellent work. Their work was then assessed by a Second Revision Committee before the Final Editing Committee gave it its final form. As new versions were finished they were sent out in booklet form to the congregations. Many people responded with helpful comments and suggestions, all of which the Final Editing Committee considered and gratefully acknowledges. The Second and Final Revision Committees found it expedient to take extended time away to progress the work.We gratefully acknowledge those who provided hospitality for these sessions. A Music Sub-Committee petitioned all precentors before deleting unused tunes and adding new ones. Finally we offer heartfelt thanks to all who, in any way, helped to bring this mammoth task to completion. Some gave much in terms of time and effort, but for them, as for all involved, it was a labour of love done for their Lord. Special thanks are due to Dr. Hugh McCullough for all his efforts in connection with this project.We offer the fruits of our labours with the earnest prayer that this new Psalter will bring much blessing to those who use it and above all much glory to its Divine Author and the Saviour of which every Psalm speaks.