12 Dec 2022

Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs

Two passages in Paul's letters make reference to the liturgical triad of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. These are Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19. Here is the first: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God." And the second: "addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart." What is meant by these terms?

Some people think they know. One of these is R. Scott Clark of The Heidelblog, where he posted on the topic a decade ago: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs in the Septuagint. Clark argues that these terms reflect categories in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Old Testament, on which the New Testament authors relied for virtually all of their Scripture quotations. Here are his categories:

2 Dec 2022

The Bay Psalm Book of 1640

For Christmas 2009 my wife gave me a copy of the 1903 facsimile edition of the Bay Psalm Book of 1640, the first book to be published in the English-speaking colonies in the New World. Although I mentioned it briefly in this blog at the time, I did not comment any further on the volume. Given that it is nearly 120 years old, it is in remarkably good condition, although only one side survives of the open-ended box it came in. An introduction to this edition was written by one Wilberforce Eames (1855-1937), a self-taught librarian and scholar known as the "Dean of American Bibliographers."