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Dissenting PraiseReligious Dissent and the Hymn in England and Wales$
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Isabel Rivers and David L. Wykes

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545247

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545247.001.0001

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James Martineau and the Evolution of Unitarian Hymnody ∗

James Martineau and the Evolution of Unitarian Hymnody ∗

(p.173) Chapter 7 James Martineau and the Evolution of Unitarian Hymnody
Dissenting Praise

Alan Ruston

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 outlines the history of Unitarian hymnody from its origins in English Presbyterianism in the eighteenth century to the denominational hymn-books of the early twentieth. The mid nineteenth century saw the publication of a variety of hymn-books, each reflecting the variations in the evolution of Unitarian thought. The pioneering collections of James Martineau, Hymns for the Christian Church and Home (1840) and Hymns of Praise and Prayer (1874), are analysed. These books demonstrate the width of his selection of hymns, which included American transcendentalist writers as well as works of Catholic piety. Martineau claimed that he rarely altered the text of hymns, but detailed research has shown that this was not the case. Unitarians were among the last of the dissenting churches to prepare a denominational hymn-book, which first appeared in 1890. By 1914 it had almost wholly replaced Martineau’s collections among Unitarian congregations.

Keywords:   James Martineau, Unitarian hymnody, Presbyterianism, Unitarian thought, American transcendentalists, denominational hymn-book

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