Academic journal article The Hymn

28 Hymns to Sing before You Die

Academic journal article The Hymn

28 Hymns to Sing before You Die

Article excerpt

28 Hymns to Sing before You Die By John M. Mulder and F. Morgan Roberts; foreword by Eugene H. Peterson. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014. 206 pp. pbk. ISBN 978-62564-149-6. $25.00.

Sorry, we can't list them here. And yes, the tide may be a litde unfortunate. But this is not, as might first appear, another book of old recycled anecdotal "hymn stories." It takes its canon from a March 2011 Christianity Today article by Robert Coote, "Hymns that Keep On Going" (55:3, 30-32) in which he quantified the 27 mostfrequently-appearing non-Christmas hymns in mainline Anglo-American hymnals from 1883 on, with a sidebar explaining the absence of "Amazing Grace" (which is included in the present volume).

The authors are both Presbyterian: John Mulder is former president of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary; F. Morgan Roberts is pastor emeritus of Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh.

Their format here: each hymn is printed as music with interlined text, followed by historical-critical notes and a meditation. Most of the notes and meditations are too long to read out loud in their entirety for class purposes, but excerpting from them seems viable.

The hymns are presented chronologically by original author, but in later English translations. So one first encounters John of Damascus's eighth-century Easter hymn in Neale's nineteenth-century version, "The day of resurrection." The last hymn treated is "The church's one foundation."

Notes and meditations are handled alternately by the authors, who have chosen not to identify which work is whose. …

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