Repeat the Sounding Joy

Reflections on Hymns by Isaac Watts

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David W. Music
  • Macon, GA: 
    Mercer University Press
    , November
     256 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Isaac Watts is universally recognized as one of the greatest English-language hymn writers of the eighteenth century, the "Golden Age of English Hymnody." Watts almost singlehandedly broke the monopoly of metrical psalm singing and practically invented the hymn form as it is known today. Some of his texts are among the most familiar hymns in Christendom, including "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" and "Joy to the World." This book begins with an introduction describing Watts's work and its importance, followed by chapters on each of his twenty-five most widely sung texts. Each hymn is presented in its full original form, with reflections and commentaries that are partly historical, partly analytical, and partly devotional. Particular attention is given to the meanings of the words as they were used by Watts, the scriptural backgrounds of the texts, and their relationship to other writings by the English author.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

David W. Music has served on the faculties of Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and California Baptist College. He was editor of The Hymn, the journal of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, 1990–1996. His publications have centered primarily on hymnody, choral music, and American sacred music.



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