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date: 03 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In early modern England, the psalms were understood as the Bible in miniature, offering concise versions of biblical teachings and teaching individuals how to converse with God. The psalms had a very long history of translation into the vernacular, and this chapter charts some of the varied ways in which the psalms were appropriated not only as devotional aids but as modes of poetic and musical expression. The musicality of the psalms was understood to create pleasing harmony, between the soul of the individual believer and God, and amongst the body of the congregation. Nonetheless, debates around the genre of the psalms, the propriety of singing, and the politics of reproduction introduced notes of dissonance into post-Reformation discussions of liturgical practice and godly living. This chapter explores these controversial subjects, paying particular attention to the bodily and social forms of psalm reading and singing.

Keywords: psalms, Sternhold and Hopkins, Coverdale, Calvin, liturgy, domestic religion, music, singing

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