Moses in breeches

The Geneva Bible of 1560 is commonly referred to as the Breeches Bible because in that translation in Genesis 3: 7 Adam and Eve clothe themselves in "breeches" made from fig leaves.

New Zealand has gone one better. In 1987 General Synod passed a Psalter which has Ps 106:23
"So you would have destroyed them but for Moses your chosen one who stood before you in the breech, to turn back your wrath from their destruction."

Picture left: Archaeological reconstruction - the sort of breech Moses probably stood before God in.

I was under the misunderstanding that spelling mistakes etc. could be fixed up without synodical approval, but General Synod 2006, after 20 years of Moses standing in the breech, has had enough! The Psalms for Worship Amendment Statute 2006 (number 659) is requesting all dozen or so diocesan synods to vote that the word "breech" is changed to "breach". If a majority of synods agree, a newly elected General Synod may, under "Section 4(a) of the Church of England Empowering Act 1928 and Part B, Clause 6(a) of the Constitution" vote to change the "e" into an "a". [Should this next meeting of General Synod then agree to the change, there is another year to appeal to a Tribunal about the change]. This is obviously a significant doctrinal shift and we need to proceed with extreme caution!

May I remind you that we have had no less that four different "e" editions of this Prayer Book so far. If this process is successful and the Prayer Book is newly printed with an a for an e, all previous printings will become collectors' items known forever as the Breeches Prayer Books!

I have some suggestions: let us rise up from our breeches, load our breeches, and defend Moses' breeches that we have had him stand in for the last generation. Vote No! I want to see drawings of Moses standing in the breech - with one by Ralph Hotere replacing "Black Window" on page 193. I want to see collections of typos, errors in grammar, spelling, rubrics, and liturgical found in the Prayer Book we have grown fond of. So start emailing them to me.

Moses has stood in the breech for us - let us go once more into the breech for him. And his breeches.

Update 11 September 2007
I sang the following song at Christchurch Diocesan Synod - all joined the refrain which was on Power Point. The tune is "if you're happy and you know it". There is no disparagement implied of the mover of this motion at our synod who was clearly doing this as a member of General Synod on General Synod's behalf.

Twenty years Moses stood in his breech.
Twenty years Moses stood in his breech.
In New Zealand's unique psalter
which we're voting now to alter
twenty years Moses stood in his breech.

There's a complicated General Synod road.
Synod meetings and tribunals lie ahead.
There's lots of errors in our book.
I will show you where to look.
Let's give energy to something else instead.

Twenty years...

We are messy in our liturgy and life.
Yet an "e" now gets us into strife.
Swallow camels, strain a gnat
is this where the church is at,
or do we wonder if we need to get a life.

Twenty years...

So I urge a vote against the mover's speech.
Or we might be surprised by its reach.
All the Prayer Books in the pews
you'll have to twink them or not use
for our formularies will be in breech.

Twenty years...


For those who love the details: The rules in our constitution being followed above

An error in the baptism service

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