29 May 2012

Versifying the Psalms: a speed record?

This is from Imre Revesz, History of the Hungarian Reformed Church (Washington, DC: The Hungarian Reformed Federation of America, 1956):
The great name in connection with the versifying of the Psalms, an idea he learned abroad, is that of Albert Molnar Szenczi (pronounced "Sentsi"). He himself tells us that he completed the whole Psalter in Hungarian verse in less than a hundred days.
Not knowing the Hungarian language, I am not competent to judge the literary quality of Molnar's versifications. But even if it were in stilted or clumsy Hungarian, I question his claims to have completed these in so short a span of time. The Genevan Psalter itself took at least 23 years to complete, and it has taken me some 27 years to versify just over half of the Psalms in English. Could Molnar really have produced his metrical psalter in just over three months?

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