In the following discussion, several hymnals will be examined with respect to their treatment of time and the experience of time. To be relevant, the materials should be current hymnals that mirror a certain ecumenical breadth. They should also have general validity in numerous congregations and represent at least three different languages. Viewed from this standpoint, two German, two Swedish, and two English hymnals have been chosen.
The German hymnals include the 1995 provisional edition of the Evangelische Gesangbuch,16 which was published for the Protestant Church in the Rhineland, the Protestant Church of Westphalia, and the Lippian Church, as well as the Catholic prayer and hymn book, Gotteslob (Praise of God)17
(including the Supplement for the Archdiocese of Paderborn), which was published in 1975.
The two Swedish hymnals include the hymnal of the Church of Sweden, Den Svenska Psalmboken,18 published in 1986, and the small book entitled Psalmer i po-talet,19 which was published in 1994. With its 123 hymns, the latter constitutes a supplement to the former, but without possessing its official status.
Both English-language hymnals come from Australia. They are The Australian Hymn Book with Catholic Supplement,,20 which appeared in 1977, and Sing Alleluia. A Supplement to The Australian Hymn Book,11 which was published in 1987. Australia was selected because the use of hymnals in English congregations is very inconsistent, and it seemed enticing to leave the European continent. Above all, the two Australian hymnals show promise for discovering a melting pot of representative English-language hymn material. The selection thus remains largely focused on the context from which modern science has evolved.
The EG consists of a main portion—hymns 1 to 535—that was adopted following a ten-year decision-making process. The regional church portion, which has not yet been officially adopted in the edition I examined, extends from number 550 to number 691. Numbers 701 to 959 include prayers, confessions, orders of worship, a reference companion, and details on the ecclesiastical year. Except for the hymnological information, this portion was not considered in the current study.
The edition of the EG examined here is intended for use in two united churches and one reformed church within the Protestant Church in Germany, as well as for the Protestant Reformed Church in Germany. In Germany, 28.9 million22 people are affected by the main portion, which is obligatory for the entire Protestant Church of Germany (EKD).
The GL also consists of a main portion and a local portion. In Germany alone, the main portion is obligatory for approximately 27.7 million Roman Catholics. Furthermore, 6.84 million Catholics in Austria and the Catholic congregations in German-speaking Switzerland use the main portion of the GL in their services. The Supplement, which begins with number 808, is intended for the Archdiocese of Paderborn, which has about 1.85 million Catholic parishioners.
The Svps consists of 700 hymns and songs. Of these, the first 325 are jointly used by fifteen different Christian churches and communities.23 The entire hymnal is used both in the Church of Sweden (Svenska kyrkan, Lutheran) and in the Swedish Protestant Mission (Evangeliska Fosterlands-Stiftelsen). The hymns of the small book entitled Psalmer i 90-talet, which are numbered from 801 to 923, were published as complementary material for services in the Church of Sweden. Texts and melodies are intended as ways of expressing Christian belief "in our times," for singing "in time, on the path to eternity."24 This raises the hope that not only is something new in time being said, but also something new about time. A large majority of the texts in the Pspo were written after 1970.25
The AHB emerged from work performed by a committee constituted by Anglicans, Congregationalists, Methodists, and Presbyterians in 1968. Collaboration begun in 1974 with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney resulted in the publication of the hymnal in two formats, The Australian Hymn Book and The Australian Hymn Book with Catholic Supplement, which has been examined in this study. The committee assigned itself the task of preserving the best and most characteristic contributions of various denominations to the entire life of the Church throughout the centuries. The results are 624 hymns and songs that reflect a considerable breadth of English-language hymn material. The main emphases are on Charles Wesley (1707— 1788) and Isaac Watts (1674-1748), who, with fifty-eight and thirty-five hymns respectively, were the most frequently represented hymn writers.
The editorial board for the SA consisted of representatives of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, the Presbyterian Church of Australia, and the Uniting Church in Australia.26 The SA contains biblical psalms, chorales primarily from the forty years preceding the edition, and hymns of diverse character, for example, songs from Taizé. The editors aimed to achieve international breadth. Among the 105 hymns, they have therefore included contributions from the Philippines, from China, from the area of the former Czechoslovakia, and from France, Great Britain, America, Africa, and New Zealand. Aboriginal hymns are also included in the Australian material.
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