Beatus Vir: Denis the Carthusian's on the Psalms - Vol. 1

Arouca Press

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514 pages | Arouca Press

Beatus Vir, the first of six planned volumes translating Denis the Carthusian’s (1402–1471) extensive Commentary on the Psalms (Psalms 1–25), is the first ever translation of this work into English since Denis wrote it in the 1430s. Of more than mere historical interest, this translation, accompanied by helpful footnotes, is intended to encourage an increased knowledge of the Psalms and to be used as an aid to meditation and reflection. Written at the cusp between late Scholasticism and the Devotio Moderna, the Commentary bridges both spiritual movements, seeking a firm foothold in both. Intensely Scriptural and personal, and urging perfection in the Christian manner of living or conversatio, the Commentary is also theologically rigorous, readily grasping the rational, guiding hand of St. Thomas Aquinas and happily embracing the mysticism of pseudo-Dionysius. Pope Eugene IV (1383–1447) is reputed to have said upon reading the Carthusian’s works: “May Mother Church rejoice that she has such a son!” The English-speaking world might similarly rejoice that Denis’s Commentary on the Psalms is at long last being translated into the English tongue.


Volume One of Andrew Greenwell’s English translation of Denis the Carthusian’s Commentary on the Psalms is a remarkable achievement, offering wide access to a text of great importance. Denis’ erudition, insight and originality, as well as his refined ability to keep various interlocutors in view are robustly displayed. Readers will find his attention to the relationship between the letter of history and the spiritual senses particularly engaging. The wealth of helpful notes in this edition will help us all gain a deeper appreciation for the workings of one of the late medieval world’s most respected voices. A translator has to share something of the spirit of the original author, and this translation is the work of one who certainly does. – ✠ Most Rev. Daniel E. Flores, Bishop of Brownsville, TX

In this impeccably well-done translation from Latin of the beautiful commentary on Psalms 1–25 of Denis the Carthusian, Andrew Greenwell has demonstrated that he is precisely the kind of layman Pope St. John Paul II called for in his 1988 post-synodal apostolic exhortation to the lay faithful. He is in love with the Lord Jesus Christ and totally given over to the service of His Mystical Body, the Church. I highly recommend this beautiful work. I am deeply grateful to Andrew for offering it to all of us as a resource. – Deacon Keith Fournier, J.D., M.T.S., M.Phil., Dean of Catholic Identity Director of Deacon Formation General Counsel Catholic, Diocese of Tyler, Texas

Greenwell's welcome translation of Denis the Carthusian's first major work is a gift to those who seek primarily to understand the Psalms in the context of revelation and faith above the narrower priorities of modern academia. Denis' richly Christological exposition of each psalm, applying the four senses of scripture, is witness to Carthusian life faithfully and fruitfully lived. – Fr. Hugh Somerville Knapman, OSB, Monk of Douai; author of Ecumenism of Blood: Heavenly Hope for Earthly Communion

We can find no better prayers than the ones God Himself has given us. The Psalms are the heart of Holy Scripture, the summary of all its treasures, the daily bread of Christ’s faithful. The mysteries contained in the Psalms are simple, and yet so sublime, that we need a guide to open up the Scriptures to us. Denis the Carthusian, a fine connoisseur of the Psalms, is an exemplary guide. This English translation is a remarkable accomplishment, for which we are all indebted to Andrew Greenwell. - Dom Pius Mary Noonan, OSB, Notre Dame Priory, Tasmania

Now here is a treasure that those who take their lectio divina seriously appreciate beyond telling: Denis the Carthusian's commentary on the Psalms--no less! – Abbot Philip Anderson, OSB, Clear Creek Abbey

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