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Re: Genevan Tunes

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  • raging_calvinist
    Thanks for the article, Jasper. I know that later versions of the Psalters included a few entries which were not from the Psalms, including the Apostles
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 4, 2002
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      Thanks for the article, Jasper. I know that later versions of the
      Psalters included a few entries which were not from the Psalms,
      including the Apostles creed, the Lord's Prayer, and in the case of
      the French/Genevan psalter, a hymn attributed to Calvin himself.
      However,

      "The hymn 'I Greet Thee Who My Sure Redeemer Art' is sometimes
      attributed to Calvin, but there is no real evidence for his
      authorship. For a discussion of the background and evidence, see
      Armin Haessler, The Story of Our Hymns (St. Louis: Eden Publishing
      House, 1952), pp. 306-309. Felix Bovet of Neuchatel in His Historie
      du psaultier de Eglises Reformees (1872) held Calvin's authorship to
      be rather doubtful. O. Douen in his Clement Marot et le psautier
      Huguenot (1878) ascribes it to Jean Garnier. Prof. Eduard Reuss of
      Strasbourg, though originally skeptical about Calvin's authoriship,
      nonetheless includes it in his compilation of the Lesser Works of
      Calvin in the Corpus Reformatorium, Vol. 34, 1867. Philip Schaff,
      Christ in Song, p. 678, also attributes it to Calvin. The hymn first
      appeared in the 1545 edition of the French Psalter, Strasbourg, four
      years after Calvin left." (Michael Bushell, Songs of Zion, footnote
      on page 168; C&C Publications, 1977 (3rd ed. 1999).

      I'm not convinced that Calvin wrote the hymn attributed to him. But
      even if he did, and even if it was included in the Psalter, we should
      not automatically conclude that the hymn was placed there to be used
      in formal worship. Consider this account regarding Luther's hymns:

      "When the Lord brought the testimony of his witnesses out of
      obscurity in Piedmont, Bohemio, &c., by the ministry of Luther, his
      contemporaries and successors; then the psalms were restored to their
      place in the churches of the Reformation. Luther was skilled in
      music, himself composed many hymns; but he carefully distinguished
      between the Psalms and his hymns. An old lady in eastern Pennsylvania
      is said to have in her possession 'a German Psalm-book, published by
      Luther himself.' The book closes with a collection of Luther's hymns;
      but the old lady says that in her young days in Germany, 'its
      directions were rigidly obeyed, and in public worship they sang only
      the Psalms of David.' The same order, as is well known, prevailed in
      all the other reformed churches of Europe and the British Isles."
      (Cited in: David Steele, "Psalms and Hymns," The Original Covenanter
      Magazine [Vol. 3:1-3:16, March 1881 to Dec. 1884], p. 41.)

      We must be careful just making assumptions about the worship
      practices of our Reformed forefathers based simply on the fact that
      they may have written hymns, or even included some of them in a book
      along with the Psalms. The Psalters were put together for public and
      private worship, but also for use in the home where hymns could be
      sung or read or otherwise enjoyed outside the act of formal worship.

      gmw.
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