Index
2010s
NewRoom

2014 : TELL THE WORLD!

In 2014 the New Room ran a hymnwriting challenge to celebrate the 275th anniversary of the New Room’s foundation in Bristol by John and Charles Wesley. The collection which is …

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banner

2013 : THE CANTERBURY DICTIONARY OF HYMNOLOGY

The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology – an update of John Julian’s A Dictionary of Hymnology was completed and published. It was edited by J.R. Watson and Emma Hornby, and published …

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singingthefaith2

2011 : SINGING THE FAITH

Singing the Faith was published in September 2011. It was the first hymnbook to be compiled by the Methodist Church since Hymns and Psalms. Both these hymnbooks are officially authorised …

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2000s

2001 : IN CHRIST ALONE

The worship song ‘In Christ Alone’ is published as a result of a collaboration by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The song quickly gained in popularity in the United Kingdom, …

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1990s

1999 : SOUTH PARK SINGS ‘HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING’

‘Hark! the Herald angels sing‘ by Charles Wesley made another appearance in popular culture when it was sung during Episode 46 of the American animated sitcom series South Park. The …

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1990s
mariahmerry

1994 : MARIAH CAREY

American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey release an album entitled ‘Merry Christmas’ which has to date sold over 15 million copies making it the best selling Christmas album of all time. On …

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1990s

1991 : JOHNNY CASH SINGS ‘HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING’

Singer-songwriter Johnny Cash (1932-2003) released an album called ‘Johnny Cash Country Christmas’. On it there was a cover version of Charles Wesley’s hymn ‘Hark! The herald angels sing’.

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1980s

1987 : SHINE, JESUS, SHINE

Graham Kendrick (b. 1950) is well known as the author of many popular worship songs, for example ‘Meekness and Majesty’, ‘The Servant King’ and ‘Lead me to the Cross’. The …

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1980s

1986 : BE STILL FOR THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD

David J. Evans (b. 1957) wrote and published ‘Be Still for the Presence of the Lord’, a hymn/worship song which has grown in popularity and now appears in many major …

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1980s
hymnsandpsalms1

1983 : HYMNS AND PSALMS

Hymns and Psalms came out of a mandate from the Methodist Conference of 1979. The highly popular Methodist Hymn Book of 1933 served a good purpose, but the collection was …

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1960s
Routley

1968 : ERIK ROUTLEY

Erik Routley (1917-1982) was one of the Christian church’s most prominent hymnwriters and hymnologists during the twentieth century. He worked tirelessly to promote hymns and hymn singing through his work …

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1960s

1967 : PILGRIM PRAISE AND FRED KAAN

The anthology of hymns Pilgrim Praise by Fred Kaan (1929-2009) has come to be regarded as a landmark for hymnody in the 20th Century. It contained fifty original hymn texts …

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1960s

1967 : THINK OF A WORLD WITHOUT ANY FLOWERS

For centuries hymns have expressed praise for creation, and encouraged people to respect. Admire and marvel at the wonders and beauty of the natural world. Doreen Newport (1927-2004) was a …

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1960s

1963 : LORD OF THE DANCE

‘Dance then, wherever you may be I am the Lord of the Dance, said He! And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be And I’ll lead you all in …

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1960s

1960 : CAMBERWELL

The composer Michael Brierley (b. 1932) was associated with the 20th Century Church Light Music Group. In 1960 he wrote a tune called CAMBERWELL for the words of the hymn …

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1950s

1957 : 20TH CENTURY CHURCH LIGHT MUSIC GROUP

It was around this time that the ’20th Century Church Light Music Group’ was formed through a collaboration of Geoffrey Beaumont (1903-1970) and Patrick Appleford (b. 1925). The group’s aim …

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1950s
JohnArlott

1951 : THE BBC HYMN BOOK AND THE ‘VOICE OF CRICKET’

John Arlott (1914-1991) is not a name that is immediately associated with hymnody. He was nicknamed the ‘Voice of Cricket’ and he is well-known known for his contribution to the …

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1950s
BBCHymnbook

1951 : THE BBC HYMNBOOK

The BBC Hymnbook was intended for us in studio services and the Daily Service, and to allow listeners at home to follow hymns in broadcast programmes. According to the book’s …

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1940s

1941 : ABBOT’S LEIGH

Cyril Taylor (1907-1991) composed the hymn tune ABBOT’S LEIGH while he was stationed in Bristol during World War II. Taylor was the head of the BBC’s religious broadcasting department. He …

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1930s
hymnsocietylogo

1936 : THE HYMN SOCIETY OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND

The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland was founded to encourage the study and research of hymnody. In addition to this primary aim it also strives to promote a …

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1930s
MethodistHymnbook1933

1933 : THE METHODIST HYMNBOOK

The Methodist Hymnbook of 1933 was the first collection of hymns published by the united Methodist Church. After the First World War negotiations began between the United Methodist Church, the …

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1920s
TDS2

1926 : TIMOTHY DUDLEY-SMITH

Timothy Dudley-Smith (b. 1926) is one of the 20th century’s foremost and prolific writers of hymn texts. He has authored in the region of 400 texts for hymns, many of …

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1920s
USACanada

1922 : THE HYMN SOCIETY IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA

The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada and was known initially as The Hymn Society Of America. It was given its present name in 1991. It is a …

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1910s
poppy

1919 : WORLD WAR I REMEMBERED IN HYMNODY

The First World War came to an end on 11th November 1918 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The devastation and loss of life witnessed by Europe was …

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1910s

1918 : OXYRHYNCHUS HYMN

In Egypt a papyrus parchment was discovered which has written on it the text and melody of a hymn praising the Trinity. It was later established that this is the …

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1910s

1912 : MAKE ME A CHANNEL OF THY PEACE

This is the earliest date to which a hymn known as ‘The Prayer of St Francis’ can be traced. Although the hymn ‘Make me a channel of Thy peace’ is …

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1900s

1908 : I VOW TO THEE, MY COUNTRY

Cecil Spring Rice (1859-1918) had a career in the British diplomatic service. For the last six years of his life up to just before his death he was the British …

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1900s

1905 : BE THOU MY VISION

The roots of this hymn have been traced back as far as the 6th century AD. But it was only in 1905 when the original Old Irish text, ‘Rop tu …

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1900s
PrattGreenTrust

1903 : FRED PRATT GREEN

Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000) was born in Roby, Lancashire, United Kingdom. He was a Methodist minister, hymn writer, poet, playwright and translator, and one of the most influential figures in …

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1890s
Julian

1892 : A DICTIONARY OF HYMNOLOGY

John Julian (1839-1913) published A Dictionary of Hymnology: Setting for the Origins of Christian Hymns of all Ages and Nations, which contained more than 40,000 entries. It was published in …

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1880s

1885 : HOW GREAT THOU ART (O LORD MY GOD)

The Swede Carl Gustav Boberg (1859-1840) wrote a poem in 1885 in Swedish entitled O Store Gud which had nine verses, and published it for the first time in 1886. …

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1870s
Greenwell

1873 : DORA GREENWELL

This is the year in which the hymn ‘And art thou come with us to dwell’ (still found in many hymnals today) first appeared in a collection of religious poetry …

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1870s
FannyCrosby

1873 : BLESSED ASSURANCE

This hymn resulted out of collaboration between Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) and Phoebe Palmer Knapp (1839-1908). Unusually, it seems as though the tune (composed by Knapp) was written first. It was …

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1860s
BristolTuneBook

1863 : THE BRISTOL TUNE BOOK

Hymnbooks tend to come in versions which contain music and words, or words only. Up until the late nineteenth century, it was common practice to have words and music published …

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1860s

1862 : BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

In February 1862 the text of this famous hymn was first published in a magazine called Atlantic Monthly. The text was written by the American social rights activist Julia Ward …

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1850s
Mendelssohn

1855 : HARK! THE HERALD-ANGELS SING

A tune written by the composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847) is adapted by William Cummings (1831 – 1915) to fit Charles Wesley’s words ‘Hark! the herald-angels sing’. This is …

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1850s

1850 : ANNA LAETITIA WARING

In this year the hymn ‘In heavenly love abiding’ was first published in a collection entitled Hymns and Meditations. The collection was written and compiled by Anna Laetitia Waring (1823-1910). …

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1840s
Cecil_F_Alexander

1848 : ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID’S CITY

In 1848 a book was published entitled Hymns for Little Children. It contained a poem written by Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895) called ‘Once in Royal David’s City’. Mrs C.F. Alexander …

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1840s
FACup

1847 : ABIDE WITH ME

In 1847 Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) published a hymn called ‘Abide with Me’. This hymn was published in the 1861 Hymns Ancient and Modern in which it was paired with …

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1830s

1837 : WILLIAM CHATTERTON DIX

William Chatterton Dix – his second name refers to Bristol’s childhood prodigy poet, Thomas Chatterton – was born in Bristol in 1837. Although he moved away from the city to …

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1820s
Winkworth

1827 : CATHERINE WINKWORTH

On 13th September 1827 Catherine Winkworth was born. Winkworth translated many German chorales into English, such as Nun danket alle Gott which is known in English as ‘Now Thank We …

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1800s

1809 : ALFRED LORD TENNYSON

Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892), one of the English languages poets, and Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland, was born on 6th August. His is well known for so many poems …

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1780s
DAVID'SHARP

1788 : BROADMEAD (DAVID’S HARP)

This is the name of a tune written by John Daniell (1788-1866). Daniell was organist and choirmaster at the Broadmead Baptist Church, which was one of the six non-Conformist congregations …

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1770s
John Newton

1779 : AMAZING GRACE! HOW SWEET THE SOUND

This hymn was written by John Newton (1725-1807), and was first published in a collection of Newton’s hymns called Olney Hymns. Although it was almost completely forgotten in the United …

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1770s
AugustusToplady

1776 : ROCK OF AGES

‘Rock of Ages’ was written by Augustus Toplady (1770-1778). A popular story associated with the hymn is that Toplady wrote it while sheltering under a rock in Burrington Combe, North …

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1760s
samwesley

1766 : SAMUEL WESLEY

Samuel Wesley’s two most well-known hymn tunes today are RIDGE and DONCASTER, but during his lifetime he was a prolific writer of tunes. Many were composed for hymn texts written …

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1760s

1762 : GUIDE ME, O THOU GREAT REDEEMER

In this year William Williams (Pantycelyn) (1717-1791) published a collection of hymns entitled The Songs of those upon the Sea of Glass. In it was a hymn entitled Arglwydd, arwain …

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1760s
JohnHorse

1761 : JOHN WESLEY’S ‘DIRECTIONS FOR SINGING’

John Wesley (1703-1791) included his ‘Directions for Singing’ in the publication Select Hymns which appeared in 1761. They were intended to guide the singing of congregations to render correctly hymns …

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1750s
CharlesWesleyjr

1757 : Charles Wesley Jr.

Charles Wesley Jr. was born Bristol in 1757 to Charles and Sally Wesley. He moved with his family to London in 1771, and there he continued his musical education by …

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1730s
CharlesTownHymnal

1737 : THE ‘CHARLESTON HYMNAL’ – THE WESLEY’S FIRST HYMNBOOK

While in America John Wesley compiled a hymnbook called A Collection of Hymns and Psalms which has come to be known as the ‘Charlestown Hymnal’. The inspiration to compile this …

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1710s

1719 : JOY TO THE WORLD!

This popular hymn which appears is sung by many, especially at Christmas, was written by the so-called ‘Father of English Hymnody’, Isaac Watts. Watts paraphrased the Book of Psalms into …

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1700s
‘Lily’ Portrait by Thomas Hudson

1707 : CHARLES WESLEY

Charles Wesley was born on 18th December 1707 in Epworth, Lincolnshire, England. He is attributed (along with his brother John) as the co-founder of the Methodist movement, but is far …

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1700s
Watts

1707 : WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) was born into a Nonconformist family, and remained involved in the dissenting churches for all his life. Although very bright and a promising student, he was not …

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1700s
WhileShepherds

1700 : WHILE SHEPHERDS WATCHED THEIR FLOCKS BY NIGHT

At Christmas time many people sing ‘While shepherds washed their socks by night’ for fun, or even sometimes by mistake. The origin of the proper words for this carol dates …

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1680s
Handel

1685 : GEORG FRIEDERICH HÄNDEL

Georg Friederich Händel was born on 23rd February. He was a famous composer in Germany and England, and was widely acclaimed as a master composer of many different forms popular …

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1680s
JSBach

1685 : J.S. BACH

On 21st March Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach. He is one of the most prolific composers of music of all eras. He wrote cantatas, concerti, passion oratorios, organ …

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1660s
BristolCathedral

1664 : MY SONG IS LOVE UNKNOWN AND SAMUEL CROSSMAN

This hymn is most often sung at Passiontide. Its appearance in many modern day hymnbooks is testament to its appeal as a meditation on the passion and death of Christ. …

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1590s

1599 : WACHET AUF!

In English this hymn is known by various titles: ‘Wake, awake, for night is flying!’, ‘Wake, O wake! With tidings thrilling’ and ‘”Sleepers, wake!” A voice astounds us’ are a …

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1580s

1582 : PIAE CANTIONES

A collection of songs known as Piae Cantiones (‘Pious Songs’) was published in Sweden. It was a collection of 74 Latin texts, all popular sacred and a few secular songs …

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1560s
WBkPsalms

1562 : All PEOPLE THAT ON EARTH DO DWELL

Metrical Psalms were favoured by followers of Jean Calvin, mainly because they were vernacular versions of Biblical texts, and so were close to the originals. In England, they were favoured …

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1500s

1501 : THE FIRST PROTESTANT HYMNBOOK

The Bohemian Brethren (also known as Unitas Fratrum – ‘United Brethren’ – or the Moravians) are attributed with producing the first Protesant hymnbook in 1501. The Brethren were started in …

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1480s
MartinLuther

1483 : MARTIN LUTHER

Martin Luther (1483-1546) is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in church history. His objection to many of the Roman Catholic church’s teaching, doctrines and practices led …

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1350s

1350 : BIANCO DA SIENA

Bianco da Siena an Italian mystical-poet was born. During his lifetime he wrote well over 100 hundred religiously-inspired poems. He initially worked as wool carder but later entered a religious …

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1220s

1226 : ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI

St Francis of Assisi – a famous Christian saint who lived in Italy – wrote his hymn Altissimu omnipotente (‘Canticle of the Sun’) in the last year of his life. …

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1220s

1225 : THOMAS AQUINAS

Thomas Aquinas was born in Roccasecca, a town in Italy which lies between Rome and Naples. Aquinas is regarded as one of the Christian church’s greatest theologians, but he has …

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1210s

1215 : STEPHEN LANGTON, MAGNA CARTA, AND HYMNS

Stephen Langton (c.1150-1228) was an Archbishop of Canterbury. During his life he came into conflict with King John, and spent many years in exile because of this. King John’s reign …

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950s
ChartresCathedral

952 : FULBERT OF CHARTRES

The year in which Fulbert of Chartres is thought to have been born. There is no definitive source confirming where he is born, but he is most closely associated with …

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670s

670 : CÆDMON’S HYMN – AN OLD ENGLISH SONG OF PRAISE

Cædmon, who was born around the year 670, was an obscure shepherd at Whitby Abbey, Northumbria, until he composed his famous hymn to God the Creator. The famous story of …

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630s

639 : ALDHELM AND OLD ENGLISH HYMNS

Aldhelm, who it is thought was born around the year 639, is regarded as one of most important literary and ecclesiastical figures of Britain before the Norman Conquest. He was …

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530s

530 : FORTUNATUS

Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus was born in 530 in Venetia, Italy. During the early part of his life he travelled widely, studied in Ravenna, and then journeyed to Gaul through …

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390s

397 : AMBROSE OF MILAN

Ambrose of Milan (340-397) is known as a ‘Doctor of the Church’, a title accorded to people who have made a significant contribution to the church through their lives and …

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380s

387 : TE DEUM LAUDAMUS

On 24th April, 387 Augustine of Hippo was baptised by Ambrose of Milan in Milan Cathedral, Italy. This occasion has traditionally been associated with the composition of Te Deum Laudamus …

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350s
augustine

354 : AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was born on 13th November. He was born in Thagaste which today is known as Souk Ahras in Algeria, but then was part of Roman Africa. …

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340s
Prudentius

348 : PRUDENTIUS

Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348-c.413) – also known simply as Prudentius – was a poet who lived most in Northern Spain. Believed to have been born in Caesaraugusta (known today as …

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290s

290 : PHOS HILARON

Phos Hilaron (also known as ‘Hail, Gladdening Light’) was written sometime between 290 and 300 AD. Its first mention is found in the Apostolic Constitutions, which makes it the earliest …

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200s
Origen

200 : ORIGEN

One of the earliest references to hymnody comes from the writings of Origen (c. 185-c.265). Origen was one of the Christian church’s early martyrs. He was persecuted by the Roman …

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60s

c. 60 : LET ALL MORTAL FLESH KEEP SILENCE

The text and tune and this hymn are both well known since they first appeared together in English Hymnal (published 1906). Ralph Vaughan Williams – editor of English Hymnal – …

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BC

ANCIENT TRADITIONS OF HYMN WRITING

The origins of Christian hymnody lie in the hymnody and musical practices of the Jewish faith. But while hymnody is most often associated with the Christian church, there are also …

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BC

HOMERIC HYMNS

During the 7th century BC the first of the ‘Homeric Hymns’ were written. This is a collection of 33 hymns of praise to the gods of Greek mythology written by …

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BC

CALLIMACHUS

One of the most notable examples of hymnody from Ancient Greece is a collection of six hymns written by Callimachus, a poet and scholar, who lived most of his life …

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BC

THE HYMNODY OF HINDUISM

The Greeks were not the only ancient civilization in which a tradition of texts addressing praise to deities developed. Nearly 800 years before the examples mentioned above were written, followers …

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BC

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN HYMNS

Examples also exist from the civilization of Ancient Egypt. The Pharoah Akhenaten, who died between 1336 and 1334 BC, wrote a hymn addressed to the Aton: the sun disc deity. …

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