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Call for Papers: Church Music and Hymnography in an Ecumenical Context

The Andrei Şaguna Orthodox Theological Faculty and the Department for Protestant Theology in Sibiu, as part of the Ecumenical Research Centre in Sibiu, Romania announce the following Call for Papers for their upcoming publication.

Call for Papers: Martin Luther thought music God’s “best gift to man” and the contribution of his hymns to the success of reformed ideas is uncontested. However, if we look more closely into the history of the Church, we notice that music and hymnography in particular were frequently more divisive than not.

Despite this, throughout the last decades various studies have maintained that music is an universal spiritual language. Human beings sing and write poetry in order to express the ineffable that is impossible to capture discursively. The realities revealed through poetry and music are thought to transcend the confines of dogmas and definitions. This is why recent ecumenical efforts have placed a lot of weight on liturgical encounters, on singing communally, on finding an inter-confessional, shared repertoire. Whilst important steps in this direction were taken by Catholics and Protestants through shared hymn books or places such as Taizé, signs of a true “singing Oikumene”, it seems that a common repertoire with the Orthodox world is more difficult to find.

In this journal issue we would like to focus on the differences between western Church music, which is preponderantly polyphonic and instrumental, and the Byzantine manner, monodic and exclusively vocal, of Orthodox music.

To this end, we intend the following questions as catalyst for authors: is it possible to arrive at a hierarchy of musical expression in Christianity? How closely does form have to be adhered for the preservation of the spirit? Are these distinctions fundamental, or merely cultural? Is there confession-specific music? If liturgical texts can be translated faithfully, can hymns be sung in the Byzantine manner within a western community, and vice versa? What are the implications of this phenomenon? Can we continue to sing century-old hymns in a post-modern world? If a certain degree of education is necessary for the enjoyment of venerable hymns, what do those who support traditional music in the Church think of the idea of mission? If we think of the Christian mission amongst nations which have no connection with the traditional Christian space, what kind of music will be used for service?

Articles will be submitted in English or German and have to comply with RES standards.

Deadline: June 15th 2015

Email: res@ecum.ro Web: www.res.ecum.ro

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