Academic journal article The Hymn

Praise to the Name Thirty-Six New Hymns

Academic journal article The Hymn

Praise to the Name Thirty-Six New Hymns

Article excerpt

Praise to the Name Thirty-six new hymns by Timothy Dudley-Smith. Carol Stream, IL: Hope Publishing (with Oxford University Press), 2009. 82 pp. ISBN 0-19-336588-9. U.S. $9.95.

This is the seventh volume in a series of books containing eloquent texts by Timothy Dudley-Smith, FHS. One learns and is delighted when reading through the book from beginning to end.

Dudley-Smith's foreword is every bit as good as his texts. In it he reflects on his collection and where he is in his life as a hymnwriter. He does this largely by drawing on the stories of other hymnwriters throughout history (e.g., John Berridge, John Ellerton, the Wesleys, Arthur Roberts, Isaac Watts, Kenneth Clark, A. E. Housman, and Fred Pratt Green). Of particular interest is the author's definition of hymnody in his introductory material. He states that a hymn "must be congregational: that in the writing, and perhaps the publishing, of anything claiming to be a hymn, it cannot be primar - ily 'the spring of lyric poetry' [quoting Kenneth Clark] that shapes the work, but the need to offer to the whole immense range of Christ's flock . . . the words with which to express together the motions of their hearts" (xiii). Several pages later Dudley-Smith elaborates on the pedagogical nature of hymnody: "in our singing there is (or should be) an element of teaching: that we should learn from what we sing to understand our faith better, both intellectually and in experience" (xv).

The thirty-six hymns of the collection use various sources and concentrate on several liturgical themes: minor prophets, metrical psalmody, New Testament saints, "Mothering Sunday," and the fight against slavery in America. …

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