British Methodist Hymnody: Theology, Heritage, and Experience, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

British Methodist Hymnody

Theology, Heritage, and Experience, 1st Edition

By Martin V. Clarke


210 pages

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pub: 2017-06-27
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Hymnody is widely recognised as a central tenet of Methodism’s theological, doctrinal, spiritual, and liturgical identity. Theologically and doctrinally, the content of the hymns has traditionally been a primary vehicle for expressing Methodism’s emphasis on salvation for all, social holiness, and personal commitment, while particular hymns and the communal act of participating in hymn singing have been key elements in the spiritual lives of Methodists.

An important contribution to the history of Methodism, British Methodist Hymnody argues that the significance of hymnody in British Methodism is best understood as a combination of its official status, spiritual expression, popular appeal, and practical application. Seeking to consider what, when, how, and why Methodists sing, British Methodist Hymnody examines the history, perception, and practice of hymnody from Methodism’s small-scale eighteenth-century origins to its place as a worldwide denomination today.


‘This book will be of interest beyond Wesleyan and Methodist scholars, clergy, and laity to those interested in congregational song in general, and to those interested in how a spiritual practice shapes individuals and an emerging denomination over several centuries. This book joins Andrew Pratt’s 2004 O for a Thousand Tongues: The 1933 Methodist Hymn Book in Context (Epworth Press) and David M. Chapman’s 2006 Born in Song: Methodist Worship in Britain (Church in the Marketplace Publications) to provide rich insight into British Methodist worship and song’ – Robin Knowles Wallace, Methodist Theological School, Ohio, USA

‘Clarke is a reliable guide… he examines both the textual and musical repertory, and the attachments that British Methodists have had to particular expressions of both.’ – John Swarbrick in Wesley and Methodist Studies

Table of Contents


1 Authorised Hymnody: Hymnals as Expressions of Doctrine and Theology

2 An Ecumenical Hymnody

3 An Evangelical Hymnody

4 Methodism’s Literary Repertoire: Form, Language, Editing, and Theological Expression

5 Musical Repertoire

6 Methodist Hymnody in Practice

7 The Influence of Methodist Hymnody beyond British Methodism

8 Hymnody and Methodist Identity

About the Author

Martin V. Clarke is a Lecturer in Music at The Open University. He has research interests in the relationships between music and theology, hymnody, Methodist history and British music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He is currently a Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded project ‘Listening and British cultures: listeners’ responses to music in Britain, c.1700–2018’. He was an invited participant at the Yale ISM Consultation on Music and Theology in 2013 and has twice been the recipient of Visiting Fellowships at Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University.

About the Series

Routledge Methodist Studies Series

Editorial Board: Ted A. Campbell, David N. Hempton, Priscilla Pope-Levison, Martin Wellings and Karen B. Westerfield Tucker

Methodism remains one of the largest denominations in the USA and is growing in South America, Africa and Asia (especially in Korea and China). This series spans Methodist history and theology, exploring its success as a movement historically and in its global expansion. Books in the series will look particularly at features within Methodism which attract wide interest, including: the unique position of the Wesleys; the prominent role of women and minorities in Methodism; the interaction between Methodism and politics; the ‘Methodist conscience’ and its motivation for temperance and pacifist movements; the wide range of Pentecostal, holiness and evangelical movements; and the interaction of Methodism with different cultures.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Religious / Christian
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Christianity / Methodist