Bede’s Self-Imposed Rules

This is a quick listing of a set of rules that that Bede seems to have self-imposed on himself as he compiled his abbreviated psalter. Although I can not be sure, they may reflect what Bede understood to be the correct use of scripture to develop new prayers.

For the abbreviated psalter:

  1. It is not necessary to take full verses.
  2. Take something from every psalm, no matter how short.
  3. It is ok to splice verses from the same psalm as long as they remain in the original order.
  4. Likewise, list all of the psalms in order.
  5. Verses (or partial verses) of adjacent psalms can be spliced together, as long as they remain in the original order.
  6. Choose direct statements (people to God, or God to people).

For example on rule 3, you may take the first part of verse 1 and the second half of verse 5, but keep them in their original order. No rearranging the words of the psalm.

Rule 5 is particularly apparent in the shortest abbreviated psalms that make sense when spliced to the proceeding or succeeding psalm abbreviations.

I’m beginning to wonder about rule 2, now that two exceptions have been found. He doesn’t just skip them, he replaces them. Yet, that is still only 2 out of 150 deviate from scripture but retain at least a surface similarity.

The more I look at the abbreviated psalter, the more I think that it must have went through a couple of rounds of editing to reach the final state.


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