Methods

How then is narrated time manifested in hymns? In the following discussion, the passages in which time concepts are articulated are analyzed for frequency and content, although the qualitative analysis is given priority. Selection criteria for relevant passages include the occurrence of the nouns "time(s)" [Zeit(en)], "future" [Zukunft], "day" [Tag], "night" [Nacht], "morning" [Morgen], "evening" [Abend], "year" [Jahr], and "hour" [Stunde], as well as the adjectives derived from these nouns. Time adverbs, such as "today" [heute] and "yesterday" [gestern], as well as seasonal concepts, have been taken into consideration. Compound nouns, such as "time on earth" [Erdenzeit] and "time of grace" [Gnadenzeit], have naturally also been dis cussed. Furthermore, all passages that center on the idea of "eternity" [Ewigkeit] have been included in the study. In this case, words such as "eternity/eternities" [Ewigkeit(en)], "eternal one" [Ewiger], and "eternal" [ewig(lich)] were decisive.

Frequently, recurring phrases and refrains have been considered only once. In order to prevent the number of passages being examined from becoming boundless, the expression "forever" [all(e)zeit] in the sense of "always" [immer], as well as other time adverbs in primarily unstressed passages, were not given particular attention.27

In the following discussion, the expression time indication [Zeitindikation] generally characterizes words and word combinations that articulate a concept of time and/or eternity, whereas time terminology [Zeitterminologie] means words or word combinations that speak explicitly of "Zeit" or "Zukunft," "tid" or "framtid," or "time"/"age" or "future." Correspondingly, eternity terminology [Ewigkeitsterminologie] includes the concepts "eternity or eternities" [Ewigkeit(en)] and "eternal" [ewig(lich)] or different forms of "eternal" [ewig] and "eternity" [Ewigkeit]. In the English hymns, a distinction is made between strictly literal eternity terminology, which contains the concepts "eternal," "everlasting," "endless"/"unending," and "eternity," and other eternity terminology that includes "ever" and "evermore." Concepts such as "day" [7ag] and "night" [Nacht], "morning" [Morgen] and "evening" [Abend], "year" [Jahr], "hour" [St«nde], "today" [he«te] and "yesterday" [gestern], as well as the names of the seasons, are occasionally grouped together under the concept everyday terminology [Alltagsterminologie] or seasonal terminology [Jahreszeitterminologie].

The function of the quantitative analysis is to provide orientation. The inclusion of numerical figures should help the reader to see emphases and proportions. The quantitative analysis thus also helps to ensure that the text examples selected for the qualitative analysis are representative to a certain degree. The quantitative analysis was done nonelectronically. No guarantee can be made for 100 percent accuracy, although the results should be considered sufficiently solid. When I speak of "passages with time indications," this is generally synonymous with "stanzas with time indications." Numerous stanzas contain several time indications that are combined with one another, repeated, or juxtaposed; these appear in the overall calculation, however, as a respective single passage. Nevertheless, during the individual analysis of time terminology, eternity terminology, everyday terminology, and seasonal terminology, as well as in the analysis of final stanzas, several time indications within the same stanza have been considered individually.

In the qualitative analysis, I occasionally depart from the semantic fields established in the quantitative analysis. Translations have been kept as liter al as possible, and closeness to text is given priority over rhyme and rhythm.

The qualitative analysis does not supply a hymnological study, that is, it does not attempt to perform a musical28 or literary scientific analysis or to demonstrate church-historical or dogmatic peculiarities. It also does not seek to analyze intent in order to reconstruct original wording or uncover the sociological meaning of different hymns. Instead, it is driven by a phe-nomenologically motivated interest in retelling what the hymns of different epochs have to say about time and eternity. For traditional poetry in general, as well as for the poetry of hymns in particular, a phenomenological working method appears to me to be appropriate, since it stays close to the text and still allows freedom for ongoing interpretation. Thus, in the attempt to narrate the history of time in the hymns of the church, new history arises. The retelling occasionally borders on new narration and elicits questions, some of which will be touched upon more closely in the theological discussion in the next chapter.

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