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The Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English

Conference 2006

Dissenting Praise: Religious Dissent and the Hymn

Saturday 20 May 2006

Conference poster 2006

On Saturday 20 May 2006 the Centre’s second one-day conference was held at Dr Williams’s Library on the subject of religious dissent and the hymn.

The introduction of hymns and hymn-singing has been described as one of the greatest contributions made by dissent to English worship. The sixty-five attendees included academics, ministers, and church members; they came to hear four stimulating lectures, which covered a broad range of topics including the Puritan condemnation of hymns as worldly in the 1640s, the movement away from metrical psalms to hymns in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the relation of hymnody to broader evangelical and congregational culture from the early nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries.

The lectures were:

  • ‘Psalms and hymns in the seventeenth century by Dr Elizabeth Clarke, Reader, Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick
  • ‘Isaac Watts and his influence’ by Professor J. R. Watson, Department of English, University of Durham
  • ‘Josiah Conder (1789-1855), hymn-book writer and compiler’ by Dr David Thompson, President, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
  • ‘W. Garrett Horder (1841-1922) and the evolution of Congregational hymnody’ by Professor Clyde Binfield, Department of History, University of Sheffield

The following collection of essays arising from the conference was published in 2011:

Dissenting Praise: Religious Dissent and the Hymn in England and Wales, ed. Isabel Rivers and David L. Wykes (Oxford University Press)




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