Hymn

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A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. The word hymn derives from Greek ὕμνος (hymnos), which means "a song of praise." Collections of hymns are known as hymnals or hymnbooks.

Contents

Origins

Ancient hymns include the Egyptian Great Hymn to the Aten, composed by Pharaoh Akhenaten; the Vedas, a collection of hymns in the tradition of Hinduism; and the Psalms, a collection of songs from Judaism. The Western tradition of hymnody begins with the Homeric Hymns, a collection of ancient Greek hymns, the oldest of which were written in the 7th century BC, praising deities of the ancient Greek religions. Surviving from the 3rd century BC is a collection of six literary hymns (Ὕμνοι) by the Alexandrian poet Callimachus.

Patristic writers began applying the term ὕμνος, or hymnus in Latin, to Christian songs of praise, and frequently used the word as a synonym for "psalm".[1]

Christian hymnody

Originally modeled on the Psalms and other poetic passages (commonly referred to as "canticles") in the Scriptures, Christian hymns are generally directed as praise and worship to the monotheistic God. Many refer to Jesus Christ either directly or indirectly.

Since the earliest times, Christians have sung "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs", both in private devotions and in corporate worship (Matthew 26:30; 1 Cor 14:26; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; James 5:13; cf. Revelation 5:8-10; Revelation 14:1-5).

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