Christian Cyclopedia

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Hymnody, Christian.

1. Ps, hymns, and spiritual songs were used by the Christian Ch. from its beginning (Eph. 5:19; Cl 3:16). But there is no direct evidence of hymns used in pub. worship until the 2d c.

2. Earliest known Christian hymns emphasized praise of God. “Shepherd of Tender Youth” (Gk. Stomion polon adion, literally “Bridle of Steeds Untamed,”) is ascribed to Clement* of Alexandria. In the 2d and 3d c. Bardesanes (see Gnosticism, 7 h) and son Harmonius* tried to spread Gnostic speculation through hymns. To counteract heresies, Ephraem* wrote many hymns. Other early hymnists of the E Ch. include Methodius* of Olympus, Gregory* of Nazianzus, Synesius,* Andrew* of Crete, John* of Damascus, Theodore* of Studion. Gk. hymnody is characterized by objectivity and pure worship.

3. The Lat., or W Ch., from the 4th c. to the Reformation, produced hymnists including Hilary* of Poitiers (Lucis Largitor splendide, “Thou Splendid Giver of the Light”), Ambrose* (O Lux beata Trinitas, “O Trinity, Most Blessed Light”), C. Sedulius* (Hostis Herodes impie, “The Star Proclaims the King Is Here”), V. H. C. Fortunatus* (Vexilla Regis prodeunt, “The Royal Banners Forward Go”), Gregory I (see Popes, 4; hymns include Rex Christe, factor omnium, “O Christ, Our King, Creator Lord”).

4. Hymnists of the Middle Ages include Bede* (Hymnum canamus gloriae, “A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing”),Bernard* of Clairvaux, Adam* of St. Victor, Thomas* of Celano, Thomas* Aquinas (Lauda Sion Salvatorem). Veni Creator Spiritus was probably written by Ambrose, Gregory I, or Rabanus* Maurus; Dies irae, dies ilia was probably written by Thomas of Celano; other hymns of the Middle Ages include Veni, Sancte Spiritus; Salve caput cruentatum; Stabat mater dolorosa; Quem pastores laudavere (the “Quempas Carol”).

5. Lat. was the official language of the ch. in the Middle Ages, but hymns in the vernacular were in use in Ger. and surrounding countries at least as early as the 12th c. (“Christ ist erstanden”); “Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist” was in use in the 13th c., “Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ” in the 14th c. Hymns such as these which ended with “Kyrieleis” (“Lord, have mercy”) were called Leisen. Their use was limited seasonally or otherwise. Under leadership of M. Luther* the Reformation brought cong. singing in the vernacular to full development. The first Luth. hymnals were pub. 1524. Other Luth. hymnists to ca. 1560 include J. Agricola,* E. Alber* (Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach), H. Bonnus,* E. Cruciger,* N. Decius,* V. Dietrich,* P. Eber,* J. Freder(us),* J. Frosch,* George* of Brandenburg-Ansbach, J. Gramann,* Henry* of Zutphen, N. Herman,* J. Hess,* J. Heune,* J. Jonas,* A. Knöpken,* W. Link,* Joachim and Johann Magdeburg,* J. Mathesius,* A. Moibanus,* W. Musculus,* H. Sachs,* J. Spangenberg,* L. Spengler,* P. Speratus,* J. Walther.*

Luth. hymnists ca. 1560–ca. 1618 include J. Arnd,* C. Becker,* M. Behm,* B. Bidembach,* J. Ebert,* J. Fischa(e)rt,* P. Hagen,* V. Herberger,* C. Knoll,* M. Moller,* P. Nicolai,* A. Osiander* (the Younger), B. Ringwaldt,* M. Schalling,* C. Schneegass,* N. Selnecker,* C. Spangenberg,* J. Steuerlein,* C. Vischer,* S. Weingärtner.*

6. Luth. hymnists ca. 1618–ca. 1648 include H. Albert* J. M. Altenburg,* J. V. Andreä,* L. Bacmeister,* A. H. Bucholtz,* S. Dach,* D. Denicke,* B. Derschau,* Z. Faber,* J. Gesenius,* A. Gryphius,* J. Heermann,* H. Held,* B. Helder,* M. A. v. Löwenstern,* J. M. Meyfart,* M. Opitz,* M. Rinckart,* J. Rist,* J. Saubert* the Elder, J. H. Schein,* J. Stegmann,* A. Thebesius,* C. Tietze,* J. Wegelin,* G. Weissel,* G. Werner,* S. Zehner,* K. Ziegler.*

Luth. hymnists ca. 1648–ca. 1680 include Aemilie* Juliane, J. R. Ahle,* J. G. Albinus,* H. v. Assig,* S. v. Birken,* T. Clausnitzer,* W. C. Dessler,* J. M. Dilherr,* J. Flit(t)ner,* J. Franck,* Michael Franck,* S. Franck,* A. Fritsch,* M. Geier* Jr., P. Gerhardt,* J. F. Hertzog,* E. C. Homburg,* C. Keimann,* C. Knorr,* S. Liscow,* Ludämilia* Elisabeth, H. Müller,* K. F . Nachtenhöfer,* G. Neumark,* G. Olearius* (b. 1604), J. Olearius* (b. 1611), J. G. Olearius* (b. 1635), G. M. Pfefferkorn,* B. Praetorius,* S. Rodigast,* G. W. Sacer,* J. Saubert* the Younger, J. Scheffler,* H. Schenk,* M. Schirmer,* J. B. Schupp,* C. Scriver,* E. Stockmann,* B. Wiesenmeyer.*

With the rise of Pietism* the golden age of Luth. hymnody had passed. Luth. hymnists ca. 1680–1756 (beginning of the Seven Years' War) include J. L. C. Allendorf,* K. H. v Bogatzky,* J. J. Breithaupt,* F. R. L. v. Canitz,* B. Crasselius,* A. Drese,* J. Falckner,* A. H. Francke,* J. A. Freylinghausen,* J. B. Freystein,* L. A. Gotter,* J. D. Herrnschmidt,* J. Lange,* L. Laurenti,* L. F. F. Lehr,* J. J. Rambach,* C. F. Richter,* J. C. Schade,* C. L. Scheidt,* J. E. Schmidt,* J. H. Schröder,* J. J. Schütz,* V. L. v. Seckendorf,* P. J. Spener,* J. F. Starck,* E. G. Woltersdorf.*

7. Hymnists in Eng., Ireland, and Scot. include S. Adams,* J. Addison,* H. Alford,* H. W. Baker,* S. Baring-Gould,* R. Baxter,* E. Bickersteth,* H. Bonar,* J. L. Borthwick,* J. Bowring,* M. Bridges,* S. A. Brooke,* J. Bunyan,* E. Caswall,* E. Charles,* G. K. Chesterton,* W. Cowper,* F. E. Cox,* W. C. Dix,* P. Doddridge,* J. Edmeston,* J. Ellerton,* C. Elliott,* J. A. Elliott,* C. Elven,* E. Hatch,* F. R. Havergal,* W. H. Havergal,* R. Heber,* G. Herbert,* W. W. How,* J. Keble,* T. Kelly,* T. Ken,* C. Kingsley,* J. E. Leeson,* H. F. Lyte,* R. Massie,* J. Milton,* J. S. B. Monsell,* J. Montgomery,* E. Mote,* J. M. Neale,* J. H. Newman,* J. Newton,* E. Osler,* E. Perronet,* H. J. Pye,* J. Rippon,* A. T. Russell,* A. Steele,* S. J. Stone,* G. Thring,* A. M. Toplady,* I. Watts,* C. Wesley,* J. Wesley,* S. Wesley,* C. Winkworth,* C. Wordsworth.*

8. Am. and Can. hymnists include L. F. Benson,* G. W. Bethune,* P. Brooks,* W. C. Bryant,* A. and P. Cary,* A. C. Coxe,* H. M. Dexter,* G. W. Doane,* G. Duffield* Jr. and son S. A. W. Duffield, T. Dwight,* N. L. Frothingham,* W. Gladden,* H. Harbaugh,* T. Hastings,* H. W. Longfellow,* D. March,* W. A. Muhlenberg (see Mühlenberg, Heinrich Melchior, and Family, 6), R. Palmer,* S. D. Phelps,* J. Scriven,* S. F. Smith,* F. J. Van* Alstyne.

Luth. hymnists in Am. include A. Crull,* C. J. H. Fick,* C. Porterfield Krauth,* M. Loy,* W. G. Polack,* C. W. Schäffer,* C. H. L. Schuette,* J. A. Seiss,* C. F. W. Walther.*

9. Scand. hymnists include H. A. Brorson,* J. N. Brun (see Norway, Lutheranism in, 10), N. F. S. Grundtvig,* T. H. Kingo,* U. V. Koren,* H. Spegel,* J. O. Wallin.*

10. Other hymnists include H. A. C. Malan* (Fr.), G. Savonarola* (It.), W. Williams* (Welsh).

See also Theology.

J. Julian, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 2d rev. ed. with new supplement (London, 1907); L. F. Benson, The Hymnody of the Christian Church (New York, 1927); C. W. Douglas, Church Music in History and Practice, rev. ed. (New York, 1962); F. Blume, Geschichte der evangelischen Kirchenmusik (New York, 1965); C. Blume and G. M. Dreves, Hymnologische Beiträge, 4 vols. (Leipzig, 1897–1930); W. G. Polack, The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal, 2d ed. (St. Louis, 1942); A. H. Hoffmann v. Fallersleben, Geschichte des deutschen Kirchenliedes bis auf Luthers Zeit, 3d ed. (Hanover, 1861); A. F. W. Fischer, Das deutsche evangelische Kirchenlied des 17. Jahrhunderts, 6 vols. (Gütersloh, 1904–16) and Kirchenlieder-Lexicon (Gotha, 1878–79); F. J. E. Raby, A History of Christian-Latin Poetry from the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages, 2d ed. (Oxford, Eng., 1953); F. Spitta, Das deutsche Kirchenlied in seinen charakteristischen Erscheinungen (Berlin, 1912); E. Schmidt, Führer durch das Gesangbuch der Evangel.-Luth. Kirche in Bayern rechts des Rheins (Erlangen, 1936); K. E. P. Wackernagel, Das deutsche Kirchenlied, 5 vols. (Leipzig, 1864–77); J. Westphal, Das evangelische Kirchenlied nach seiner Geschichtlichen Entwicklung, 6th ed. (Berlin, 1925); C. G. A. V. v. Winterfeld, Der evangelische Kirchengesang, 3 parts (Leipzig, 1843–47); Geschichte des Kirchenlieds und Kirchengesangs der christlichen, insbesondere der deutschen evangelischen Kirche, ed. E. E. Koch, 3d ed. (Stuttgart, 1866–76); E. E. Ryden, The Story of Christian Hymnody (Rock Island, Illinois, 1959); Historical Companion to Hymns Ancient & Modern, ed. M. Frost (London, 1962).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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