Academic journal article The Hymn

Preaching from Home: The Stories of Seven Lutheran Women Hymnwriters

Academic journal article The Hymn

Preaching from Home: The Stories of Seven Lutheran Women Hymnwriters

Article excerpt

Preaching From Home: The Stories of Seven Lutheran Women Hymnwriters by Gracia Grindal. Grand Rapids, ML: William B. Eerdmans, 2011. ISBN 978-0-8028-6501-4. $32.00 US.

Gracia Grindal provides insight into the lives and hymnwriting of seven Lutheran women from the past five centuries. After an introduction about Elizabeth Cruciger, the first woman hymnwriter of the Reformation, Grindal devotes a chapter to each Scandinavian hymnwriter, placing each writer in her historical context and connecting her to the overall story of Lutheran hymnody. Grindal provides her own translations of hymns by each hymnwriter as well as information on the life and piety of each. As the title "Preaching From Home" implies, these hymnwriters: Dorothe Engelbretsdatter (1634-1716), Birgitte Hertz Boye (1742-1824), Berthe Canutte Aarflot (1795-1859), Lina Sandell (1832-1903), Britt G. Hallqvist (1914-1997), Lisbeth Smedegaard Andersen (1934- ) and Grindal (1943- ) address their audiences as preachers and their hymns function as sermons. The first five writers were not given the opportunity to fulfill a calling to preach from the pulpit. Andersen is the only one whose vocation is that of pastor.

One of the earliest hymns included by Boye, "Be filled with holy gladness" (Bliv fuld av heilig Giade), was written for a ceremony known as the "churching" of a woman after she had given birth. Grindal explains in detail the intent of this liturgical act when a woman, would return to church and be led into the church by the priest where she would give thanks and give an offering to the priest. Hymns for the "churching" of a woman had been written by Boye's contemporaries, but as Grindal points out, they not only failed to explain the theological reasons behind this ceremony but were written by men who missed the mark on addressing the mother's situation. …

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