Sunday, September 16, 2007

How Summer Took Up All My Free Time

Obviously, I've written nothing for three months. Well, nothing online. Here's a quick rundown of my summer, and the things that have occupied me:
  1. My dissertation. I'm happy to say I've gotten one chapter done, and am well on my way in a second. Besides that, Amy came with me on an extensive and helpful research trip in July to Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.
  2. Amy studying for comprehensive exams. I have a greater appreciation for all she did for me last summer when I was in that boat.
  3. Guests. We had a lot of fun with Amy's family, my family, several sets of friends, and seemingly almost everyone we know. It was great, and I loved it, but it wasn't conducive to #1 or #2!
  4. Moving. We've moved to a bigger apartment (just up the hall from our former one), in anticipation of:
  5. A new baby! We're expecting a baby girl this December.
So, while that's no excuse to stop writing, I have had a busy summer. Both millinerd and drulogion have been giving me grief, so I'm back to blogging. Towards their questions, here's a rundown of my dissertation so far.

The title of the dissertation (or, as some Greek philosophers would have it, the diatribe—thank you, Amy comp studying) is The Baptist Hymnal For Use in the Church and Home: Its Content, Development and Reception. A thrilling, academic title, I know. I've begun with chapter 2, an examination of the members of the committee that came together on this project. They were a diverse group, with members from many different theological and musical viewpoints (although all Baptist).

First, having the two main musical editors together, William Howard Doane and Elias Henry Johnson, would almost be like today getting tobyMac and Brian Wren to put together a hymnal. Doane, as a proponent and writer of gospel songs, was heavily involved in promoting this music that many felt was unfit for Sunday morning worship. Johnson, conversely, was the sole editor of the next major Baptist hymnal, titled Sursum Corda. It was full of "high church" hymns, and included a large section of Anglican chant. This was not as unusual in the late 19th century as it might seem now in a Baptist hymnal. Several Baptist hymnals throughout the century include such chant ( including the 1883 hymnal at hand), although the Sursum Corda's section is rather large.

Besides the music editors, the American Baptist Publication Society put together a superstar collection of famous preachers and writers. Two of the pastors were called upon to preach at Henry Ward Beecher's funeral, one co-wrote a book with Harriet Beecher Stowe, several were editors of major Baptist newspapers, still others were famous revival preachers and singers, and a great deal were involved in teaching a colleges and seminaries. Here's a map I've generated of all the states in which these men pastored, taught and published. You might notice that of the states east of the Missouri River, only four are not included.Putting together such a widely dispersed committee was a shrewd move on the part of the publication society and its secretary, Benjamin Griffith, for it helped to quickly spread the word about the new hymnal, and helped ensure that the preferences of different areas of the country were addressed.

I'll write more about it as chapters unfold. Besides, I can't put everything online—it's way too long. I also have thought of several other things I've been wanting to write about, so I'll try to be a more regular blogger again.

3 comments:

Luke said...

I always thought the best use for the baptist hymnal at home was to prop up the leaning dining room table. Thank you Lance, for the education.

BTW, I had a memory the other day. Some day after school I rode home with you and your mom, and we played tic tac toe in the back. We played the whole way home and I never beat you once. I still don't play tic tac toe to this day. So thanks.

Lance said...

Ha ha, I clicked "post" on a comment on your blog and instantly got an email about your comment on mine.

You should remember, this is the BH 1883, not 1991! You can own your own copy from ebay, if you look around. I got one for $12, I think it was. First edition, even.

You can thank my sister for my tic-tac-toe skills. She taught me in about 1st grade, and I was a terror in my class.

Michael Jordan said...

Hi Lance!

Congratulations on the baby and the beginnings of your dissertation!

Glad to see you writing again--I had almost given up hope.