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Music in American Religious Experience$
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Philip V. Bohlman, Edith Blumhofer, and Maria Chow

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195173048

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173048.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 January 2022

 Aesthetics and Theology in Congregational Song

 Aesthetics and Theology in Congregational Song

A Hymnal Intervenes

(p.335) 15 Aesthetics and Theology in Congregational Song
Music in American Religious Experience

Don E. Saliers

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the decision-making processes that lead congregations and denominations to choose new hymnals. In the historical longue durée of American religious experience hymnals have undergone continuous change, making it possible for them to reflect changing theological conditions and to absorb the different sounds and aesthetics of song itself. Looking primarily at the United Methodist Hymnal, this chapter compares individual responses to favorite hymns and the new materials and liturgical concepts emerging from denominational decisions. Hymn and hymnal choice, therefore, reflects both top-down and bottom-up aesthetic and theological decisions, thus giving the hymnal the power to mediate and create a religious experience in which differences are accommodated and given voice.

Keywords:   aesthetics, bottom-up, hymn, hymnal, mediate, theology, top-down, United Methodist Hymnal

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