MU professor helps with new Christian hymn book

Oct 20, 2012

Craig Roberts teaches plant science at the University of Missouri. But he also has another passion: music. He’s spent the past few years helping with a new project – a book of Christian hymns entitled “Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs.” If you appreciate poetry, there’s a good chance you’ll like this.

Looking at the big picture, hymns have always been an important part of church life -- at least, according to Mark Noll. He teaches history at Notre Dame University. He’s also co-edited books on the history of hymns in American Protestantism. 

"The best of the classical protestant hymns gained popularity because of their ability to combine genuine theological content with genuine emotional affect," he said.

That theological content is something that several of the editors of the new hymnal highlight. But what sets the hymnal apart is the layout: The texts are presented in phrased notation. 

In this week's faith and values update, we explore just what "phrased notation" means. Here's a hint: It helps to think of hymns like poetry. 

This piece was produced in partnership with Columbia Faith and Values.