Augustine's ignorance of Hebrew

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I have not noted the metres in which the Psalms of David are composed, because I do not know them. A translator from the Hebrew language, which I do not know, would find it impossible to reproduce the verse forms, without being forced to deviate too widely, in his rendering, from the true sense of the passage, by being bound to the metre. However, on the authority of those who are versed in that tongue, I believe that they are written in definite metres, for that holy man loved sacred music, and more than any other poet he rouses us to zeal for these studies.

Augustine of Hippo, ‘Letter 101 to Memorius, c. 408-09’ in Letters: Volume II (c. 405-12), trans. Wilfred Parsons, The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation, 18 (New York: The Fathers of the Church, 1953), p. 147 (emphasis added).
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Despite himself, Augustine got really close to the essence of the Hebrew in his daily liturgy. By chanting the psalms, albeit in Latin, he wouldn't have had to worry about rhyme schemes and the like. The meter would have flowed naturally.
 
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