History of Hymnody – free lecture series

Screencap of History of Hymnody page

I’ve recently been tuning in to this fantastic lecture series taught by Kevin Twit, held at by Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO.

Kevin Twit is the founder of Indelible Grace (a group that re-tune hymns; we’ve sung a few of them before in our worship services).  He presents a 9 lectures covering the rich heritage of hymns and its use in Christian worship. Here’s what he covers:

  1. Introduction, Definitions
  2. Why Hymns in a Postmodern World
  3. Musical Style and Hymns, Early Church Hymns (Augustine, Jerome, St. Hilary of Gaul)
  4. German Hymns (Martin Luther)
  5. German Hymns continued (Martin Rinkart, Nikolaus von Zinzendorf)
  6. Hymns in Geneva (John Calvin), English Hymnody (Isaac Watts)
  7. Christian Experience in the Hymns of Anne Steele
  8. More of Anne Steele, Hymns in the Great Awakening and Victorian Eras (John and Charles Wesley, William Williams, Augustus Toplady, Joseph Hart, John Newton, William Cowper)
  9. Hymns in the 19th century onwards: Oxford Movement, Victorian Hymns, Better Music Movement, Sacred Harp, Gospel Songs, African-American Hymns, Hymns Today.

Listening to these lectures fuel in me a greater appreciation about hymns in Christian worship (elsewhere Kevin Twit calls them “theology on fire!”).  I had no idea that there could be universities where you can take classes like this! I definitely don’t know anything of the sort here in New Zealand.  It’s also intellectually refreshing in a different sort of way to my school and uni days, where sometimes the things we were taught in class  felt more like studying music for music’s sake (e.g.  avant garde trends, Schenkerian analysis).

I do wish there were study guides/handouts available, as I’m finding lots of helpful quotes and book references I’m keen to explore further.

You can listen to the first two lectures straight away, and it only takes a free sign-up to listen to the rest.


Also, some of the many interesting resources cited:

I’d encourage you to check it out!

(HT:  Matt Heerema)