The First Council of Braga was a meeting of eight bishops that took place around AD 560. They produced a number of decrees, one of which relates to the type of songs that could be sung in church. Debates over the style and content of worship songs continue in many Christian traditions today, so some appeal to the early and medieval church, including this council.
I haven't been able to find any full English translation of Braga's canons, but they are available in Latin. The relevant canon here is number XII, and is as follows:
Item placuit, ut extra psalmos vel canonicarum scripturarum novi et veteris Testamenti nihil poetice compositum in ecclesia psallatur, sicut et sancti praecipiunt canones.
This is beyond my skill to translate, and even beyond the vocabulary of my Classical Latin parser, but I'd venture the following guess:
Likewise it satisfies, that except for the psalms of the canonical scriptures of the New and Old Testaments, no poetic composition shall be sung in church, as is also taught in the holy canons.
So, at a high level, my question is – how close is this translation? More specifically, so that's it clear what I'm getting at, a 19th century commentator (Jas. Harper, The Psalter in the Early Church) makes the following claims about this canon:
- it was ordained [...] that no poetic composition be sung in the Church except the Psalms of the sacred canon
- this decree seems to allow the use of other songs than those contained in the Psalter
- it plainly debars the use of any songs in worship except those contained in the Word of God.
- the singing must be limited to poetic portions of Scripture, not extended to any part of the Bible whatsoever.
Harper's (1) seems to be contradictory to (2), and my translation seems to indicate that (2), not (1), is correct. (3) seems to be there as well, but I'm not sure about (4). Which of Harper's points can be defended in the text?