More on the Bay Psalm Book

Bay Psalm Book, 1640 | Image via RNS(RNS) Three hundred and seventy-three years ago, when the chief Puritan “divines” of the young Massachusetts Bay Colony printed their own translation of the Bible’s Book of Psalms, they prided themselves on importing the continent’s very first English printing press and establishing the colony as a cultural and educational center.

What they were certainly not anticipating — the little books sold for 20 pence apiece — was that next Tuesday (Nov. 26), Sotheby’s will be auctioning off one of the 11 surviving copies of the Bay Psalter for between $10 and $30 million dollars. In that expected price range, it will be the most expensive book ever sold in public.

Read the entire post here: En route to Sotheby\’s, Bay Psalm Book traces nation\’s seesaw religious history | Religion News Service.

Earlier we shared a post from the NY Times. Here is another perspective provided by Religion News Service (RNS). The auction is Tuesday, November 26, 2013.

As both articles implied the congregation, Old South Church in Boston, was divided about selling this copy. I am reminded of the conversations I’ve had about the Roman Catholic Church selling some (many?) of its Vatican treasures in order to fund service to the poor, outcast, marginalized, and oppressed. It seems this is the purpose (funding service ministries) being pursued by the Old South Church congregation. What are your thoughts about this?

Image: via RNS

In the digital age …

… we sometimes lose sight of the passion, dedication, sacrifices, and practical challenges of information sharing in previous ages. Here is a reminder: Let Bidding Begin for the Bay Psalm Book From 1640 (Religion in the New York Times).

Detail. Title Page of the Bay Psalm Book, 1640

From the article:

David N. Redden recited the opening of the 23rd Psalm the way he had memorized it as a child: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”

Then he opened a weathered little book and read the version it contained: “The Lord to mee a shepheard is, want therefore shall not I. Hee in the folds of tender-grasse, doth cause mee downe to lie.”

Those lines were in a volume published in Massachusetts in 1640 that amounted to the Puritans’ religious and cultural manifesto. It was the first book printed in the colonies, and the first book printed in English in the New World. The locksmith who ran the hand-operated press turned out roughly 1,700 copies. The one in Mr. Redden’s hands is one of only 11 known to exist.

Read the article online

Read more about the Bay Psalm Book on Wikipedia

Image: Janneman on Wikipedia

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