The Development of a distinctive Seventh-day Adventist hymnody : 1841-1886
This dissertation studies early Adventist hymnody. A historical-theological study, it observes the propinquity between early Adventist hymns and theology. It describes the development of Adventist hymnody in the context of the Great Awakening. It observes how Evangelicalism and, more generally, how Protestantism impacted the newborn Adventist Church. Careful attention is given to the religious musical background during the 18th and 19th centuries, including the growing new genres of gospels and spirituals. The second chapter studies the birth of Adventist hymnody. It surveys the revival background and observes how it impacted the Millerite movement. Insights on music publishing give a clearer picture of the challenges hymnbook compilers faced at the time. The chapter focuses on the leadership of Joshua V. Himes and his great influence on second advent hymnody. It shows how Himes particularly integrated the Protestant heritage and theology as the main ground for Adventist singing. The third chapter is a historical-systematic study of the five Seventh-day Adventist pillar doctrines. The chapter shows how early Sabbatarians emphasized those five doctrines over the core doctrines they shared with other Evangelicals. Indeed, it was important for a growing movement to affirm their uniqueness. The chapter shows how hymnody helped the propagation of this identity. The chapter ends with a close look at the ministries of James and Ellen G. White. It demonstrates how J. S. White set a model of compiling, while Ellen G. White counseled the Seventh-day Adventist Church on proper singing. The fourth chapter covers the rise of Adventist musicians and hymnbook compilers. It shows how this new generation of Adventist musicians succeeded in giving an identity to Seventh-day Adventist hymnody independently from J. S. White’s strong views. The chapter showcases the compilation of the Hymns and Tunes (1886) as a balanced selection of Protestant, Evangelical, and Seventh-day Adventist hymns. It shows how Seventh-day Adventist hymnody perfectly reflects the Seventh-day Adventist theology. The dissertation bases many of its assumptions on the study of the occurrence of hymns in early Adventist hymnbooks. Through Appendix B, this study gives important data on authorship, dates of composition, and origin of each hymn printed in Adventist hymnbooks. The data also include the “Protestant hymn canon” (Stephen A. Marini’s list) as a strong tool of comparison. The conclusion of the dissertation gives some input for contemporary studies on Seventh-day Adventist hymnody.