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Cataloging Biblical Materials

Differentiating Psalms from Psalters

Important distinctions must be made regarding Psalters. They are distinct, bibliographically, from the Biblical Book of Psalms. They are considered either as a liturgical book or as a work of art. It depends on the nature of the publication in hand.

The Book of Psalms as a Biblical book would simply contain the text of the Psalms (or of a selection), and its purpose would be to provide the sacred text for reading. The Psalms themselves in the Bible are inherently liturgical texts, and they contain brief directions. Nevertheless, the purpose of the edition in hand would be to provide only the Biblical text. In this case use the heading: Bible.‡pO.T.‡pPsalms...

Psalters, on the other hand, are liturgical books arranged for liturgical worship in Christian churches. They contain Christian liturgical directions, and are intended for use in churches, monasteries, etc. The text is the Biblical text, but the arrangement is liturgical.

"Enter the work under the heading for the church as a liturgical text if it contains any obvious liturgical element (as when one or more of the following are added to the psalms: canticles, antiphons, liturgical calendar, etc.)." (RI21.39)
In these cases, AACR2 21.39A1 states that a liturgical work should be entered under the heading for the "church or denominational body to which it pertains." These headings are usually accompanied by a qualifier that further identifies them.

Catholic Church.‡tPsalter (Ms. Pierpont Morgan Library. G.53)
Catholic Church.‡tPsalter (Mainz psalter)
Catholic Church.‡tPsalterium monasticum
Orthodox Eastern Church.‡tPsaltir sldovanna
Church of England.‡tBook of common prayer.‡pPsalter

See also:Psalms
Definitions of Psalters, Evangeliaries, Liturgical Books
Uniform Titles

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