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Rethinking American Music$
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Tara Browner and Thomas L. Riis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042324

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042324.001.0001

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“We’re Marching to Zion” Isaac Watts in America

“We’re Marching to Zion” Isaac Watts in America

Chapter:
(p.103) 5 “We’re Marching to Zion” Isaac Watts in America
Source:
Rethinking American Music
Author(s):

Esther R. Crookshank

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252042324.003.0006

In 1872 Henry Ward Beecher, the most prominent American preacher of the time, claimed that hymns, particularly those of Isaac Watts, shaped Americans’ theology in a uniquely powerful way. Hymns even apart from music—read aloud, memorized, and contemplated—found a special place in the inner lives of nineteenth-century Americans closely akin to that of Scripture itself. The roots of “religious emotions” in hymnody—especially for those generations of Americans who had learned hymns from childhood—were linked to a range of theological concepts. Crookshank examines how the poetry and music associated with the towering figure of Isaac Watts has been invoked and supported in a variety of religious settings for more than two hundred years.

Keywords:   Isaac Watts, religious poetry and music, psalmody, hymnody, religious emotion, Henry Ward Beecher

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