Treasure No 65: Hymnody and Belonging

[This article is condensed from part of the dissertation presented by Mr Deans in November 1998 for his M.Th. degree at Westminster College, Oxford. The original title was ‘Hymnody and Belonging: an Examination of Effective Uses of Christian Hymns in Ministry to the Confused Elderly’. However, the present article is of more general import, as is a companion article on …

Treasure No 64: The English Hymn (review)

The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study, by J R. Watson. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1997. xi 4–552 pp. £65.00 (£48.00 to Hymn Society members using special order form with July Bulletin) The publication of this scholarly, thought-provoking and enormously enjoyable book is a major event for hymnologists. In scale and scope it is comparable only with Louis F. Benson’s …

Treasure No 63: The Hymnologist’s Bookshelf

Back in Bulletin 142 (May 1978) we published, under this title, an article surveying the various books then available giving information about hymns, tunes, and their use. The article arose because members of the society were being asked ‘Where can I find information about such and such?’ People still put that sort of question. After nearly two decades, however, the …

Treasure No 62: Ten Laws of Hymnal Committees

Books of hymns are called hymnals. Books about hymns may be historical companions or devotional compilations. Then there are books about hymn-writers, from the popularly glossy to the academically scholarly. There are even books about hymnals which we know as surveys, guides or dictionaries. But what is in print about hymnal committees? There is material here for massive research and …

Treasure No 60: Childhood and the Christian hymn

When children sing Christian hymns and songs they engage in an activity which is intended to be social and educational as well as religious. The experience is both communal and individual, for unless it means something to the child, the enterprise, however well-intentioned, ends in failure. The response of the child is crucial, and impressions, good or bad, are likely …

Treasure No 59: The Charming Sound of 18th-Century Hymnody

Among the hymns of Philip Doddridge, published in 1755, is a well-known one on infant baptism: To describe the Saviour of the world, the Good Shepherd, as having ‘engaging Charms’ may sound strange to twentieth-century ears. Charm, in this cynical and hard-faced age, has become a suspicious quality, something that we rate less highly than involvement, integrity and passion, which …

Treasure No 58: John Wilson 1905–92

After a long life lived to the full, John Wilson—to whom the world of hymnody owes more that it will probably ever know died suddenly on 16 July. His mental vigour undiminished to the end, he collapsed from a heart attack while shopping and died in Guildford Hospital without regaining consciousness. Sad though we are at his passing we can …