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.
Table of Contents
Introduction 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
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.
‘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
'Clarke’s book is very welcome. He identifies the place of hymnody and music in the worship and spirituality of British Methodism, and the theology and practice underpinning them.' – Tim Macquiban, Director of The Methodist Ecumenical Office