One of the strengths of this volume is the diversity of voices and approaches that Robin Leaver has brought to the conversation. A New Song We Now Begin celebrates not just Lutheran hymnody but Lutheran hymnals in all their materiality, with attention to the organization and printing (and politics) of the books themselves, as well as to the theology and music that bring them to life.
We tend to remember hymns one at a time. They color our lives, transmit our theology, and form our faith. We forget that the reason we can do so is because they have been made available throughout the centuries in hymnals. This edited collection explores the 500-year tradition of Lutheran hymnal production, illustrating how these books have influenced Lutheran faith and worship practice over time.
Editor Robin A. Leaver has assembled a notable team of contributors from across the wider Lutheran church. Each chapter draws readers into the history and contributions of one or more landmark hymnals, ranging from the first books published during Luther's lifetime to volumes that have shaped the dimensions of the contemporary Lutheran church in the United States. Chapter authors include Leaver, Paul Grime, Markus Rathey, Joseph Hurl, Dianne M. McMullen, Jon D. Vieker, Paul Westermeyer, Mark A. Granquist, Daniel Zager, and Gracia Grindal.
- Publisher Fortress Press
- Format Paperback
- ISBN 9781506487441
- eBook ISBN 9781506487458
- Dimensions 6 x 9
- Pages 304
- Publication Date May 14, 2024
Rev. Dr. Kathryn A. Kleinhans, dean, Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University, Columbus, Ohio
A more fitting title for this collection of essays could not have been chosen than A New Song We Now Begin. Spanning the creation of the first Lutheran song books (Liederbücher) to the publication of the most recent North American Lutheran hymnals, the scholarship displayed in these essays addresses significant lacunae within the fields of liturgical studies and the history of Lutheranism. In no other single volume can one learn about the Lutheran tradition of cantionals, the controversial influence of Pietism in the production of Lutheran hymnals, alongside a pan-Lutheran history of North American Lutheran hymnary in the twenty-first century. Scholars and lovers of Lutheran hymnody alike will find this volume enlightening and enriching.
Rev. Dr. James Ambrose Lee II, associate professor of theology, Concordia University, Chicago
A half-millennium glance back at the Lutheran hymnal is a tall order, but Robin Leaver has collected a series of essays that provide both a broad narrative of Lutheran hymnody (with plenty of twists, turns, and compelling stories) and deep dives into salient moments and movements along the way. The text includes all one would expect in a rich retelling, including attention to the music itself, people in varied roles, theology, tenets, poetry, social life, education, issues, and exemplars. This recognition of five hundred years of Lutheran hymnals is enlivened with plenty of texts and tunes, stories within stories, and excellently written scholarship--a collection most worthy of a half-millennium celebration!
Dr. Jeff Meyer, professor of music, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota
Robin Leaver's A New Song We Now Begin is an outstanding work: researched to a high academic standard, while written in a compelling way for the reader. This is an important resource for all church musicians, clergy, students, professors in the academy, and anyone with a love for hymnody and its origins.
Dr. Richard Nance, professor emeritus, School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Pacific Lutheran University
In A New Song We Now Begin, Robin Leaver and a stellar array of scholars take the reader on a fascinating five-hundred-year tour of Lutheran hymnals that is a must-read for lovers of Lutheran hymnody. The church's hymnals have always been a trustworthy theological repository. Therefore, this volume offers a wealth of musical, historical, and theological insight into the church's beliefs and practices over time that will inform and engage the reader.
Rev. Richard C. Resch, professor and kantor emeritus, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana
A New Song We Now Begin is a thorough but accessible resource for conductors, pastors, and anyone who is interested in the history of hymnody in the Lutheran church. The text details what continues to be at the core of Lutheranism: corporate song in worship. This resource helps the reader put into historical context the events, musical traditions, and songs that influenced not only congregations but remarkable composers. This scholarly work should be on the shelves of every Lutheran church musician and pastor.
Dr. Jennaya Robison, DMA, artistic director, National Lutheran Choir, Minneapolis