Hymns and the music the church sings in worship are tangible means of expressing worship. And while worship is one of, if not the central functions of the church along with mission, service, education, justice, and compassion, and occupies a prime focus of our churches, a renewed sense of awareness to our theological presuppositions and cultural cues must be maintained to ensure a proper focus in worship.
Hymns and Hymnody: Historical and Theological Introductions is a sixty-chapter, three-volume introductory textbook describing the most influential hymnists, liturgists, and musical movements of the church. This academically grounded resource evaluates both the historical and theological perspectives of the major hymnists and composers who have impacted the church over the course of twenty centuries. Volume 1 explores the early church and concludes with the Renaissance era hymnists. Volume 2 begins with the Reformation and extends to the eighteenth-century hymnists and liturgists. Volume 3 engages nineteenth century hymnists to the contemporary movements of the twenty-first century.
Each chapter contains these five elements: historical background, theological perspectives communicated in their hymns/compositions, contribution to liturgy and worship, notable hymns, and bibliography. The mission of Hymns and Hymnody is (1) to provide biographical data on influential hymn writers for students and interested laypeople, and (2) to provide a theological analysis of what these composers have communicated in the theology of their hymns. We believe it is vital for those involved in leading the worship of the church to recognize that what they communicate is in fact theology. This latter aspect, we contend, is missing–yet important–in accessible formats for the current literature.