Hymns and spiritual songs do not live only in churches and religious denominations but have far wider social significance, according to the authors of a new collection of studies published this month.
Hymn, Song, Society is a compilation of academic articles that explores the experience of spiritual songs across history and cultures, published by the Finland-based Church Research Institute jointly with the University of Helsinki.
Over the centuries “the use and meaning of hymns has been transformed and renewed. In order to let this development continue, the lyrics and the music have to communicate both with the original context and the world of today”, says Methodist hymn writer Andrew Pratt, one of the book’s contributors.
Hymns can become meaningful through individual experience and may even support recovery processes, such as recovery from substance abuse, writes Pekka Lund, whose article presents research on the personal stories of people who have formerly been substance abusers.
The articles in Hymn, Song, Society are based on a selection of papers and presentations delivered at the international hymnology conference in autumn 2014 in Espoo, Finland. All the content is in English, with some of the articles also in their original language.
Order Hymn, Song, Society online at Grano.