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Theological authority in the hymns and spirituals of American Protestantism, 1830-1930

Ginn, Craig Warryn Clifford (2009) Theological authority in the hymns and spirituals of American Protestantism, 1830-1930. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This dissertation examines theological authority in the hymns and spirituals of American Protestantism within the period 1830-1930. It investigates the deuterocanonical status of hymns in hymnic-theological commentary, and demonstrates the functional canonicity of hymns in three case studies (children's hymnody, African American spirituals, and hymns of marginalized groups), and two representative areas of praxis (conversion and missions). This dissertation consults a variety of primary source materials, both elite and popular, including journals, biographies, conference minutes, academic addresses, theological works, hymn prefaces, domestic novels, newspapers, and poetry. These sources are used to situate the hymnal in the cultural context of American Protestantism and determine the status and role of hymnody. As the Bible is acclaimed the exclusive canonical text of Protestantism, consideration of the hymnal's theological authority in canonical terms is at odds with Protestant biblicism. As such, this dissertation's claim that the hymnal shared, to a significant degree, the Bible's place as a textual source of theological authority, is intellectually innovative. In identifying didactic and doctrinal themes in hymnals, primarily through systematic theology, this dissertation shows the role of hymns and spirituals in regulative theology and audible faith. Thus defended in this dissertation, is the hymnal's capacity to adjudicate on matters of faith and praxis. Of additional importance to this dissertation is its contribution toward hymnic theology, as well as demonstrating the hymnal's influence upon historical theology, liturgical theology, cultural theology, and evangelistic theology. This dissertation yields various insights for theology, especially the soteriological efficacy· of hymnody, the role of hymns in regulative theology, and the discussion of antiSemitism and black-liberation theology in African American spirituals. In applied theology and congregational studies the ramifications are critical, with the analysis of hymnic authority, the intersection of singing and doctrine (lex cantandi lex credendi), and the Bible and hymnal as mutually constitutive, all of paramount importance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science
Other academic unit: Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.505058
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 13:01
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2016 13:01
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12735

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