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Title: Christian Hymns of the First Three Centuries
Author: Messenger, Ruth Ellis
Language: English
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                     THE PAPERS OF THE HYMN SOCIETY

Carl F. Price                                                   _Editor_

                            _Christian Hymns
                     of the First Three Centuries_

                      Ruth Ellis Messenger, Ph.D.

                      THE HYMN SOCIETY OF AMERICA
                             New York City

                       PAPERS OF THE HYMN SOCIETY

                        Carl F. Price, _Editor_

  I. "The Hymns of John Bunyan."
    By Louis F. Benson, D.D.
  II. "The Religious Value of Hymns."
    By William P. Merrill, D.D.
  III. "The Praise of the Virgin in Early Latin Hymns."
    By Ruth Ellis Messenger, Ph.D.
  IV. "The Significance of the Old French Psalter."
    By Professor Waldo Selden Pratt, L.H.D., Mus.D.
  V. Hymn Festival Programs.
  VI. "What Is a Hymn?"
    By Carl F. Price, M.A.
  VII. "An Account of the Bay Psalm Book."
    By Henry Wilder Foote, D.D.
  VIII. "Lowell Mason: an Appreciation of His Life and Work."
    By Henry Lowell Mason.
  IX. "Christian Hymns of the First Three Centuries."
    By Ruth Ellis Messenger, Ph.D.
  X. Addresses at the Twentieth Anniversary of the Hymn Society of
  XI. Hymns of Christian Patriotism.
  XII. "Luther and Congregational Song."
    By Luther D. Reed, D.D., A.E.D.
  XIII. "Isaac Watts and his Contribution to English Hymnody."
    By Norman Victor Hope, M.A., Ph.D.
  XIV. "Latin Hymns of the Middle Ages."
    By Ruth Ellis Messenger, Ph.D.
  XV. "Revival of Gregorian Chant, Its Influence on English Hymnody."
    By J. Vincent Higginson, Mus.B., M.A.

Copies of these papers at _25 cents each_ may be obtained from the
Executive Secretary of the Hymn Society.

Note: Inquire before ordering as some numbers are temporarily out of

                         Dr. Reginald L. McAll,
                          2268 Sedgwick Avenue
                           New York 53, N. Y.

              Copyright, 1942, by Hymn Society of America
                             Reprinted 1949

             _Christian Hymns of the First Three Centuries_

                            I. Introduction

There is no part of the general field of Christian hymnology so baffling
to the student or so full of difficulties as the one under consideration
in this paper. Many accounts of the subject are in existence but are far
from conclusive. This is due, first of all, to the unexpected scarcity of
original sources. When one views the rise of Christianity from its
inception to the period of the Council of Nicaea, 325, its numerical
growth from a handful of original adherents to millions of followers at
the time of the Edict of Milan, 313, its literary development from early
scattered records to the works of the great Greek and Latin fathers, one
cannot help inquiring, "What has become of their hymns?"

Another puzzling aspect of the study is the complex historical background
against which the progress of Christianity appears. The peace and
constructive progress of the Augustan era, in which Christianity was
founded, have often been cited as factors contributing to its evolution
and spread. But this is not the whole story. The civilization of that
day, especially in the eastern Mediterranean lands most concerned, was
largely Hellenistic, of mingled Greek and oriental features which were
necessarily wrought into the fabric of the new religion. An understanding
of pre-Augustan conditions, in which these diverse historical and
literary trends were merged, is essential, for without it the subject is

A further problem which confronts the student is that of interpretation.
It is well known that any general treatment of early Christianity is apt
to conform to the point of view of the author. The study of hymnology,
like that of other features of the early Church, is apt to be affected by
the opinion of the commentator.

It is no wonder that the field has been neglected and that the accounts
of it are vague, incomplete and unsatisfactory. In fact, the task of
re-examining the mass of extant records of early Christianity and other
relevant material, which might illuminate the subject of hymnology, seems
never to have been undertaken with this purpose in view. It is, actually,
too vast a project for the casual student and certainly has not been
attempted here. Our best accounts of early Christian hymnody are often
subordinated to a general history of Christian hymns. This is the case
with the article, entitled, Hymnes, by H. Leclercq, in the _Dictionnaire
D' Archéologie Chrétienne et de Liturgie_, probably the best short
account in any language, containing a section on the hymnology of the
first three centuries.[1] Charles Stanley Phillips drew generously from
this source for the first chapter of _Hymnody, Past and Present_, which
is written from the liturgical standpoint.[2] Independent studies are
rare. Among them, _Die Hymnendichtung des frühen Christentums_ by Josef
Kroll, a distinguished classical philologist, deserves a much wider
circulation and should be translated for the benefit of English

In view of the dearth of available material in English, it has seemed
timely to approach the whole subject from a new standpoint. In this
study, the extant hymnic sources will be presented objectively. Groups of
hymns will be used to illustrate the types current in the period. In
connection with them, the related historical and literary influences will
be noted.

Let us abandon at once our contemporary connotation of the word _hymn_
which is derived ultimately from the hymns of Ambrose, 340-397, that is,
a metrical lyric constructed in stanzas. In the pre-Ambrosian period
Christian hymns were largely of the psalm type, to be chanted in rhythmic
periods without rhyme. Not only should the word _hymn_ be conceived in
terms of ancient thought, but also the futile attempt to differentiate
among psalms, hymns and canticles should be avoided. Specialists in
liturgical matters testify to the confusion existing among ancient
writers in the use of these words and to the uncertainty of definition
which results.[4] It is better not to multiply difficulties but to hold
fast to the actual texts which we know were used in Christian worship.

                        II. Old Testament Hymns

At the threshold of Christianity the student crosses from the literary
environment of the Old Testament into that of the New. But in actual
practice the Hebrew psalms were never given up, and to this day are
treasured in every branch of the faith. In the early centuries they
formed the bulk of Christian hymnody. References to their use appear
throughout the New Testament and are familiar to all. And, moreover, the
influence of the Hebrew psalms upon the composition of new hymns is
apparent even in the Gospels.

Keeping these important facts in mind regarding the psalms, the student
may pass on to other hymnic sources in the Old Testament. Many striking
lyrical passages in the Hebrew scriptures, uttered or perhaps repeated in
moments of emotional fervor, were used by later worshippers to express a
similar attitude toward the Divine.[5] Among these may be cited the Songs
of Moses,

    I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously (_Ex.

    Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words
      of my mouth (_Deut. 32:1-43_);

Hannah's Song of Thanksgiving,

    My heart rejoiceth in the Lord (_I Sam. 2:1-10_);

the great hymns in the Book of Isaiah,

    Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts (_Isa. 6:3_),

    We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and
      bulwarks (_Isa. 26:1-21_),

the second part of which begins,

    With my soul have I desired thee in the night (_Isa. 26:9-21_);

Jonah's Song,

    I cried by reason of my affliction unto the Lord (_Jonah 2:2-9_);

the Song of Habbakuk,

    O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid (_Hab. 3:2-19_)

The apocryphal addition to the Book of Daniel, known as the Song of the
Three Holy Children, may be considered with Old Testament lyrics.
Comprising sixty-seven verses, it was added to _Daniel 3:23_, but,
strictly speaking, its date, author and original language are unknown. It
is probable that it is of Hebrew authorship and belongs to the first
century, B. C. Its use, however, is unquestioned.[6] The first part,

    Blessed art Thou, O Lord of our fathers,

is the familiar _Benedictus es, Domine_; and the second part,

    O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord,

is the _Benedicite, omnia opera_.

The term _canticle_, mentioned above, has been applied in a general sense
to such lyrics from the Old Testament and also from the New. "In
practice," says James Mearns, "it means those Songs of Holy Scripture
which have been selected for ecclesiastical use and are appended to, or
incorporated with, the Psalter or other parts of the Divine Office."[7]
Both Eastern and Western Churches early made official use of the Old
Testament canticles,[8] while the Greek Church elaborated upon them in
formal metrical compositions, called _canons_, or groups of _odes_ based
upon an acrostic structure, a distinctive feature of Greek hymnody from
the seventh century.[9]

It was only natural that the hymnody of the Old Testament should have
exerted a marked influence upon Christian practice. The Old Testament
tradition was very strong. Familiar phraseology was ready at hand for the
composition of new canticles which were often mere centos from the Psalms
or other portions of the Hebrew scriptures. It should be recalled that
Christianity not only arose in the Semitic environment but also was for
some years localized chiefly in the oriental sections of the Roman
Empire, and that it was affected by oriental ideas and modes of
expression. Even after Greek and Roman influences were strongly felt,
hymnology retained this traditional Semitic character and pagan lyrics
were held in suspicion.

                        III. New Testament Hymns

The transition, therefore, to the canticles of the New Testament was easy
and perhaps inevitable. The _Benedictus_,

    Blessed be the Lord God of Israel (_Luke 1:68-79_),

spoken by Zacharias, the _Nunc dimittis_,

    Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace (_Luke 2:29-32_),

by Simeon, and above all the _Magnificat_,

    My soul doth magnify the Lord (_Luke 1:46-55_),

from the lips of the Virgin Mother, are among the most famous of early
Christian hymns, which, together with the song of the angelic host at the
birth of Jesus, the _Gloria in excelsis_,

    Glory to God in the highest (_Luke 2:14_),

appear within the Gospel narratives.

In the remaining portions of the New Testament other hymn fragments are
found. Some of these are direct quotations from known sources.[10] In the
_Book of Revelation (4:8)_, reference is made to the words of _Isaiah

    Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,

a passage which has survived in the Western Church in the expanded form
of the _Tersanctus_, and in the Eastern Church as the _Hymnus Angelicus_.
In the same Book (_Rev. 15:3_), the Song of Moses (_Ex. 15:1-10_) is
recalled. Some passages are considered parts of familiar pieces otherwise
unknown. The quotation in the _Epistle to the Ephesians_,

    Awake thou that sleepest (_Eph. 5:14_),

may fall into this group or be considered a free rendering of certain
passages in Isaiah.[11] The "faithful sayings" from the Epistles to
Timothy and to Titus have also been viewed in this light.[12] The passage

    For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him (_II Tim.

possesses a marked lyrical character. The lines beginning

    Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of
      lords (_I Tim. 6:15-16_),

reveal poetic features of a generally oriental style, framing the Old
Testament content. Certain digressions in the Epistles, in which formulas
of belief or of praise rise to a sure and effective climax, have the
qualities of sustained hymns:

    God was manifest in the flesh,
    justified in the Spirit,
    seen of angels,
    preached unto the Gentiles,
    believed on in the world,
    received up into glory (_I Tim. 3:16_),

    Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
    who, when he was reviled, reviled not again;
    when he suffered, he threatened not;-- -- -- --(_I Peter 2:22-25_),

above all,

    Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal
      with God;
    But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a
      servant-- -- -- --
    That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven,
      and things in earth, and things under the earth;
    And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to
      the glory of God the Father (_Philippians 2: 6-11_).

Poetic refrains are obvious in the following:

    For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be
      glory for ever (_Rom. 11:36_),

    Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages,
      world without end (_Eph. 3:21_),

    Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be
      honour and glory for ever and ever (_1 Tim. 1:17_).

The Apostle Paul and other writers of the New Testament, who quote freely
from a variety of sources, have used fragments of hymns to reinforce
their teachings or with a devotional purpose. One gains from such
citations a text only, or a fragment of text. Singing is not implied. The
apocalyptic vision of the _Book of Revelation_, however, contains several
magnificent hymns of praise which testify not alone to the form and
content of the early hymn but also to the practice of worship in song.
The praises of the heavenly host are mirrored in the praises of the
congregation upon earth.[13] "And they sung a new song, saying,"

    Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof
      (_Rev. 5:9-10_),

    Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and
      wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing (_Rev.

    Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and
      power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever (_Rev. 7:12_),

    Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true
      are thy ways, thou King of saints (_Rev. 15:3-4_),

    Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth (_Rev. 19:6_).

From the point of view of the evolution of Christian hymns, the hymns in
the _Book of Revelation_ are perhaps the most significant in the New
Testament because they exhibit varied elements, from Judaism, from
Christianity and from the mingling of the two.[14]

It is interesting to re-read the New Testament in the search for hymns,
but one should remember that the field is controversial. Some
commentators would suggest that the entire 13th chapter of _I
Corinthians_ is a hymn, beginning,

    Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels.[15]

A moderate rather than an extreme position, however, upon the identity of
hymn sources in the New Testament seems more likely to be productive of a
genuine appreciation of the style, subject matter and number of primitive
Christian hymns.

Traces of poetic improvisation, which is so closely allied to hymnody,
must be seriously considered at this point. The art of improvisation
belongs to no one age or country. It happens that the Greeks had
practiced it for centuries and that illustrations exist from the time of
Homer. To the Hellenized orient it was familiar. "The Greeks of Cilicia
and of the region about Antioch and Tarsus," as Dr. George Dwight Kellogg
reminds us, "seem to have cultivated the art and become famous." He also
suggests that the "gift of tongues" refers to this art and that Paul
himself possessed the poetic talent in no small degree.[16] It is only
natural to assume that, among the early Christians, certain individuals
would react to the influence of heightened emotion in outbursts of poetic
expression. Passages in the _Book of Acts_ may refer to the use of such
hymns, for example, in the case of the Gentiles at Caesarea, who "speak
with tongues and magnify God" (_Acts 10:45-46_), or the Ephesians who
"spake with tongues, and prophesied" (_Acts 19:6_), or perhaps the
disciples on the Day of Pentecost (_Acts 2:4_). Irenaeus, a second
century father of the Church and bishop of Lyons, referring to the scene
at Pentecost, mentions the singing of a hymn on that occasion.[17] The
nature of improvisations is fugitive. They arise from individual
inspiration and, even if expressed in familiar phrases, are not
remembered or recorded by the singer or hearer. To whatever degree
improvisation played a part in early Christian hymnody, to that same
degree we lack corresponding literary survivals. Possibly this is one
explanation of the dearth of sources which we now deplore.

On the whole, the hymnic evidence found in the New Testament points to a
predominant Hebrew influence. Both in the use of psalms and other Old
Testament hymns and in the phraseology of new hymns, the Christians found
themselves more at home in the traditional forms of expression. Features
of style, such as parallelism, uniformity and the repetition of words or
word order, were not necessarily restricted to Hebrew poetry but might be
found in other oriental sources--a consideration to which further
attention will be given later.[18] Still we may assume that the influence
of Judaism in form as well as subject matter was supreme.

                          IV. Liturgical Hymns

Christian practice reveals a third type of Hebrew influence, the
liturgical, which brought about the use of the psalms in public worship,
together with other elements familiar in the synagogue. At the close of a
service of this kind, made up of prayers, readings, psalms and preaching,
the eucharist was celebrated. Early writings, for example, the _Apologia_
of Justin Martyr, 100?-165,[19] the _Didache_[20] and the _Apostolic
Constitutions_,[21] testify to a somewhat fixed type of worship, which,
varying in details, seems to foreshadow the liturgical models of the
fourth century.

Briefly stated, the _Didache_, or _Teaching of the Twelve Apostles_, is a
second century treatise, the second part of which includes a ritual of
baptism, fasting and the eucharist.[22] A series of eucharistic prayers
is here recorded, beginning, {Eucharistoumen soi, pater hêmôn},

    We thank Thee, our Father,

offered at stages of the communion ritual where we approach the heart of
Christian worship.[23] At this point, hymn and prayer origins merge. Many
Christians of our own day, perhaps the majority, regard the true hymn as
a prayer offered in direct address to God. Throughout the history of
Christian hymns the two forms of worship have overlapped or been
identical. Hymn and prayer were also associated in ancient cults, and the
chorus of a Greek drama offers an illustration of the superb proportions
which this act of worship may assume. Charles Stanley Phillips, who has
recently translated anew the eucharistic prayer of the _Didache_, thinks
of it as not a true hymn, but a source and model of hymnody.[24]
Improvised eucharistic prayer was interrupted by congregational refrains
which provided another opportunity for the evolution of hymns. As a
matter of fact, in all ages, expressions of thanksgiving, attending the
celebration of the eucharist, have inspired many of the finest hymns of
the faith.

The _Apostolic Constitutions_ is a manual in eight books, of
ecclesiastical discipline, doctrine and worship, including the
_Didache_.[25] Dating from the fourth or fifth century, more probably the
fourth, it represents the practice of an earlier period well within the
scope of this study and, in the opinion of Brightman, was compiled in
Antioch or its neighborhood.[26] Since Greek was the prevailing language
in the Christian world of that day, it became the liturgical language of
early Christianity for the first three centuries. Even in Rome and other
large cities of Italy, Greek was used. In Italy, with these exceptions
and in the western provinces, Latin was employed, finally superseding
Greek as the official language of the Western Church.[27]

The following hymns appear in the seventh book of the Apostolic

A morning hymn, {Doxa en hypsistois theô}, _Gloria in excelsis_,

    Glory to God in the highest;[28]

an evening hymn, {Aineite paides},

    Ye children praise the Lord,[29]

which includes {Soi prepei ainos}, _Te decet laus_,

    Praise becomes Thee,

and {Nyn apolyeis ton doulon sou}, _Nunc dimittis_,

    Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace;

and a prayer at dinner, {Eulogêtos ei},

    Thou art blessed, O Lord, who nourishest me from my youth.[30]

In the eighth book of the _Apostolic Constitutions_ and also in the
_Liturgy of St. James_ we have the _Tersanctus_, {Hagios, hagios,

    Holy, holy, holy.

In another part of the same _Liturgy_ the _Trisagion_ appears, {Ho
trisagios hymnos,},

    Holy God, holy mighty, holy immortal,
        Have mercy upon us.[31]

An evening hymn, {Phôs hilaron}, Joyful light, is mentioned by Basil in
the fourth century as very old. It was sung at vespers in the Eastern

    O gladsome light, O grace
    Of God the Father's face.[33]

Among ancient liturgical hymns the _Te deum_ should be mentioned. It is
attributed to Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana in Dacia, and dated from the
end of the fourth century. It appears to be a combination of three
distinct parts. The first thirteen verses, or parts one and two, probably
originated earlier than the fourth century and may have been inspired by
Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, 200-258, who wrote in terms almost identical
with the phrases of this early section, used of prophets, apostles and

Biblical sources, especially the canticles, now appear as liturgical
hymns, either in their original form or in an enlarged version.[35] The
use of canticles, more particularly in their variations, is of supreme
interest to the hymnologist, because it offers a theory of the origin of
Christian hymnody apart from liturgical interpolations or from the
psalms. Clement of Rome urged the Corinthians to unite in the spirit of
praise as expressed in the seraphic chorus of Isaiah's vision,

    Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts:
    the whole earth is full of his glory,

associating it with the praise of the angelic ministrants, "ten thousand
times ten thousand," beheld by Daniel (_Dan. 7:10_). The same hymn had
been heard in the apocalyptic mysteries of the _Book of Revelation_. Very
early it was incorporated in the liturgy of the eucharist, continuing an
ageless form of the praise of God from the old dispensation into the new.

The evolution of the Great Doxology from the words of the angelic song,

    Glory to God in the highest,

to the _Gloria in excelsis_ illustrates the expanding thought of the
Church, corresponding to the growth of the Christian body within the
culture of the Roman Empire. Again, the _Gloria_ illustrates Hellenistic
features of poetic style, bespeaking the oriental influences which had
entered into Greek literature.[36] Note the repetition of the clauses,

    We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we
      give thanks to thee for thy great glory,

of the invocation,

    O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty,
    O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ;
    O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,

of the relative clause,

    That takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
    Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer.
    Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy
      upon us,

of the pronoun,

    For thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ,
      with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father.

It is quite superfluous to analyze further the values of a poetic form
which has helped to make the _Gloria_ one of the truly magnificent
Christian hymns of all ages.[37]

Postponing for the present a more detailed inquiry into stylistic
origins, we may regard the group of liturgical hymns here presented as a
source collection of the utmost importance. It reveals not only the
continuity of the Old and New Testament hymnology but also the evolution
of worship in song into the early Christian era. The fact that worship
was chiefly liturgical in this period and hymns were therefore liturgical
appears an inevitable conclusion.

               V. Contemporary Pagan and Heretical Hymns

Christianity expanded, as we have seen, in the environment of eastern
Mediterranean culture. Its original heritage was that of Judaism, but
within the first century it had entered upon the conquest of the Gentile
world. As that conquest proceeded and the penetration of new ideas into
pagan thought continued, a corresponding reaction of paganism upon the
new faith took place. With the general aspects of this phenomenon all are
familiar. It is significant here only in the field of lyrical expression.
The period of pagan influence in the sense of an imprint from Greek and
Roman literature is also the period of impact with pagan heretical ideas
derived either from current philosophies or the practices of mystery

Once more the chart and compass offered by the direct extant sources are
the best guides through the cross currents of the literature in our
possession. Representative pagan poetry must be examined, at least of a
few general types, in order to establish what influence, if any, was
exerted upon contemporary Christian hymns.

Regarding the classical influence, _per se_, a large number of Greek
hymns were in existence when Christianity was founded,[38] and Roman
lyrics were appearing in that very century. Paul was obviously acquainted
with the Hymn of Cleanthes, a Stoic writer of the third century, B.C.,
for he quoted his words on the Areopagus. The original passage to which
Paul refers has been translated as follows:

    Thee it is meet that mortals should invoke,
    For we Thine offspring are and sole of all
    Created things that live and move on earth
    Receive from Thee the image of the One.[39]

It is evident that the Christian hymns embedded in the books of the New
Testament were not constructed after a classical model of this type. The
influence of Old Testament poetry was too strong, the associations of
paganism repellant and, moreover, the Greek poetry, familiar to the
average man of that day, quite different. The older Greek hymns, such as
the _Homeric Hymns_, the _Odes_ of Pindar, the choruses of Greek tragedy,
were produced in the Hellenic or pre-Hellenic ages which had been
followed by more than two centuries of Hellenistic culture. Dr. Edward
Delavan Perry, writing of Hellenistic poetry, said, "Other forms of
poetry, particularly the lyric, both the choral and the 'individual,'
died out almost completely."[40]

There remain, then, only the extant hymns of the mystery cults. In spite
of many references to the use of singing in connection with these
religions, very few specimens of their hymns actually survive. The
mystery religion was a sacramental religion "which stressed the approach
to Deity through rite and liturgy after a severe probation and an oath
pledging to secrecy."[41] The leading cults were those associated with
Orpheus, the Magna Mater (Cybele) and Attis, Mithra, Serapis, Isis,
Adonis, and especially the Eleusinian Mysteries, which flourished for
twelve centuries, ending with their extinction by the Christians in

During the period under consideration in this study Isis was honored in
all parts of the Graeco-Roman world. An authentic hymn to Isis appears in
the writings of Apuleius (b. 125), who describes a procession in honor of
the goddess and gives the words of the chorus, closing,

    Thy divine countenance and most holy deity I shall guard and keep
    forever in the secret place of my heart.

Variants of the Isis cult hymn or hymns have been preserved in
inscriptions; for example, a hymn of some fifty lines from Cyme in

I am Isis the sovereign of the whole land.[43]

Liturgical survivals of the cult of Mithra are almost unknown. Franz
Cumont, the great student of Mithraism, quotes one hymn fragment only,

    Hail bridegroom, hail thou new light![44]

He is of the opinion, however, that the Manichaean song mentioned by
Augustine, 354-430, affords some idea of Mithraic poetry. The song or
hymn in question represents a chief divinity surrounded by twelve minor
divinities, symbolizing the seasons, all clothed with floral
tributes.[45] Cumont also suggests that hero hymns were in existence,
celebrating the exploits of the gods.[46] The so-called _Liturgy of
Mithra_, a magic formula not considered by Cumont, contains hymn
fragments, one of which begins,

    Lord, hail, potentate of the water,
    hail, ruler of the earth,
    hail, potentate of the spirit.[47]

Hippolytus, a presbyter of Rome who died in 236, in his _Refutation of
all Heresies_, quotes certain hymns in praise of Attis:

    Whether thou art the race of Saturn or happy Jupiter,


    I will hymn Attis, son of Rhea.[48]

Here, as in so many cases, our information concerning pagan hymns is
derived from an opponent, a Christian writer and defender of orthodox
religion, but this circumstance in no way affects the validity of the

For the Orphic cult which had the longest period of influence, we possess
what may be termed a hymn book containing eighty-seven hymns. It has been
variously dated from the third century, B.C., to the fourth or fifth
century, A.D. With a mental reservation as to the relevancy of the
citations, we find that some of these hymns in praise of the gods are
full of dignity, for instance,

    Mother of Gods, great nurse of all, draw near,
    Divinely honored, and regard my prayer.[49]

So debatable is the subject of the Orphic hymns, both in respect to date
and usage, that they offer little or no assistance to the student who is
interested in a possible influence upon Christian hymnology.[50]

Sooner or later, one must turn to the land of Egypt, if one desires a
complete picture of early Christian culture. The mystery of the Egyptian
Isis, mentioned above, was one element in the background of the times,
illustrative of the religious syncretism which had been fostered
throughout the Ptolemaic period. The identification of the Egyptian Thot
with the Greek Hermes is reflected in the Hermetic literature of which
the _Poimandres_ is the oldest known writing.[51] From this source a hymn
of praise is derived:

    By thy blessing my spirit is illumined,

and a thanksgiving hymn,

    Holy is God, the Father of all the universe.[52]

Summarizing the Greek influence, both Hellenic and Graeco-oriental, upon
Christian hymnology, it is difficult, if not impossible, to trace any
connection between the classic Greek hymns or the hymns of mystery cults,
and those of the new faith. If more sources were available, a valid
conclusion might be reached. At present, a tentative conclusion involves
the recognition of the vigorous protest and revolt against pagan ideas
revealed in contemporary prose writings, in turn evoked by the actual
pressure which was exerted upon Christianity by alien cults. The
twentieth century has produced an impressive literature centered about
the mystery religions and the problem of their influence upon
Christianity; but in the field of hymnology there have been discovered
only the faintest of traces. These are wholly stylistic. Christian hymns
which reveal the characteristics of the repetition of direct address, or
of relative clauses or predicates, previously mentioned, illustrate
poetic forms which are, in the final analysis, oriental rather than

It is a satisfaction to the classicist, who is interested in the history
of this subject, that the classical meters, ignored at this period, were
destined to be revived at a later date. They were used to some extent
from the fourth century. It was reserved for the court poets of the
Carolingian circle of the ninth century to restore the old lyric meters.
The Sapphic meter in its Horatian form not only was a favorite among
medieval Latin hymn writers, but also it has found an occasional imitator
in the course of the centuries even to modern times.[54]

While hymn sources derived from oriental cults are extremely scanty,
those originating in Gnosticism are much more numerous and suggestive in
their relation to Christian hymnology. Gnosticism is not so much the name
of a particular philosophy or definite system of belief, as it is a point
of view, which sought to harmonize the speculative achievement of Greek
thought with the oriental myths and with Christian teachings. The
philosophical interpretation of pagan mythology was extended to Hebrew
and Christian tradition. Thus, in accordance with the tenets of
Neoplatonism, the primeval being has produced the universal mind and, in
turn, mind has produced the soul which in contact with evil phases of
matter has lost its original purity. Therefore, the soul must retrace its
steps until it reaches the final stage of reunion with the origin of all
being. It is easy to understand how a variety of meanings may be read
into a simple statement like the above. It is also easy to understand
that the possibilities of confusion arising in the first three centuries
of Christian history were matters of the utmost concern to contemporary
Christian writers and dogmatists. The period abounded in heresies and
misunderstandings, to the discussion of which the ablest minds of the
Church were devoted. Quotations from these authors furnish many of the
extant hymns composed by Gnostics, either within or without the Christian
fold. The range of literary excellence, of spiritual connotation and of
intelligibility of subject matter in the so-called Gnostic hymns is so
wide that it is difficult to evaluate them. To the modern reader they
vary from the mere rigmarole to the genuinely inspiring hymn.

Perhaps the best known and certainly one of the loftiest expressions of
Gnostic ideas is the _Hymn of the Soul_, which is found in the Apocryphal
_Acts of Thomas_. Dating from the first half of the third century, the
_Acts of Thomas_ recounts the missionary preaching of the Apostle Thomas
in India. While in prison, he chants this hymn, beginning,

    When I was an infant child in the palace of my father.[55]

It has no connection with the narrative but relates in allegorical
fashion the return of the soul, which has been awakened from its
preoccupation with earthly matters, to the higher state of heavenly
existence. Here is a theme congenial to Christian thought and orthodox in
its theology when extricated from the popular concepts of the times.[56]
The actual authorship of the _Hymn of the Soul_, which is found in the
Syriac version of the _Acts_ alone, is unknown, but it has been
attributed to some disciple of the Syrian Bardesanes, a Christian Gnostic
who lived in the second half of the second century.[57] There seems to be
no doubt that Bardesanes was himself influential as a hymn writer and
that he was representative of a group of poets who were beginning to
employ contemporary rhythms set to melodies familiar in daily secular

The _Acts of Thomas_ contains a second hymn,

    The damsel is the daughter of light,

a poem of oriental imagery, personifying the divine wisdom as a

The apocryphal _Acts of John_, dating from the middle of the second
century, yields a third hymn, the _Hymn of Jesus_. In the Gospel
narrative of the last supper, Jesus and his disciples, before going to
the Mount of Olives, sing a hymn together. It is not identified but is
generally believed to be a part of the _Hallel_ or group of Passover
Psalms, 113-118. The writer of the _Acts of John_ represents Jesus as
using a new hymn which opens,

    Glory be to Thee, Father.

It contains a long series of antitheses, as follows:

    I would be saved and I would save,
    I would be loosed and I would loose,
    I would be wounded and I would wound,
    I would be borne and I would bear, etc.

The hymn concludes,

    A way am I to thee, a wayfarer.[60]

Variants of the _Hymn of Jesus_ are extant, one of which has been
preserved by Augustine, the Hymn of the Priscillianists, which came to
him from a correspondent in Spain.[61]

Hippolytus, whose _Refutation of all Heresies_ has been mentioned in
another connection, discusses the Gnostic sect of the Naasenes. He quotes
one of their hymns, beginning,

    The world's producing law was Primal Mind,

in which Jesus is represented as the guide of mankind to the attainment
of celestial knowledge.[62] The system of Valentinus, a Gnostic leader,
is also discussed and a psalm of his authorship is quoted:

    I behold all things suspended in air by spirit,

a didactic presentation of Gnostic thought.[63] It is composed in
dactylic meter, affording another illustration of the adoption of popular
rhythms in the hymnology of the heretical sects. A Gnostic hymn to the
Highest God from a third century Coptic source may be cited:

    Thou art alone the eternal and
    thou art alone the deep and
    thou art alone the unknowable, etc.[64]

Whatever impression may be created upon the modern mind by the perusal of
Gnostic poetry, its influence was admitted by contemporary Christians and
combatted by every means in their power. The Gnostic leaders, unhampered
by Hebrew traditions of religious poetry, were able to make use of
popular forms and popular concepts. They met the trend of the times more
than halfway. Heretical groups of all varieties of opinion were using
hymns as a means of expressing their beliefs and persuading possible
adherents. At the opening of the fourth century, Arius appeared, the
leader of the group whose theology was rejected at the Council of Nicaea,
325, and whose hymns were met and overcome by the verses of Ambrose. Such
was the influence of heretical upon orthodox hymnody.

                       VI. Early Christian Hymns

Turning once more to the authentic Christian hymns of the first three
centuries and this time omitting those which appear in liturgical
sources, we observe three distinct linguistic groups, the Syriac, the
Greek and the Latin.

The most familiar of the Syriac hymns were written by Ephraem Syrus (b.
307), who strove to counteract the influence of the Gnostic poets,
especially that of his countryman, Bardesanes. Strictly speaking, he
belongs to the first half of the fourth century but should be considered
by the student who is tracing the continuity of this subject. His hymns
are metrical in the sense of having lines with a fixed number of
syllables and strophic divisions. An Easter hymn opens thus:

    Blessed be the Messiah
    Who has given us a hope
    That the dead shall rise again.

A hymn for the Lord's Day begins,

    Glory be to the good
    Who hath honoured and exalted
    The first day of the week.[65]

It is possible that the hymns of Ephraem were influenced by the Syriac
Odes of Solomon, discovered in 1909, which were produced in the first
century. Whether the _Odes_ themselves are of Gnostic or Christian origin
cannot be definitely asserted but the probability of the latter is
strong. For a full discussion of this most interesting but highly
controversial topic the work of special commentators must be
consulted.[66] The intrinsic interest of the collection demands more than
a passing comment. _Ode VI_ opens,

    As the hand moves over the harp and the strings speak,
    So speaks in my members the Spirit of the Lord, and I speak by His

_Ode IX_,

    Open your ears
        And I will speak to you,
    Give me your souls,
        That I may also give you my soul.[68]

_Ode XXIX_,

    The Lord is my hope:
    In Him I shall not be confounded
    For according to His praise He made me,
    And according to His goodness even so He gave unto me.[69]

_Ode XXXI_, in which Jesus speaks,

    6. Come forth, ye that have been afflicted
            and receive joy
    7. And possess your souls by grace;
            and take to you immortal life.
    8. And they condemned me when I rose up,
            me who had not been condemned.
    9. And they divided my spoil
            though nothing was due to them.[70]

Forty-two in number, the _Odes_ reveal a true inspiration, novel and
significant from the religious and the literary standpoint. They preserve
the tradition of the Old Testament hymns, yet breathe the spiritual life
of the new revelation. Their chief interest lies in the possibility that
they illustrate a valid Christian poetry of a very early date. If it is
true, as the editors suggest, that the _Odes_ emanate from Antioch,[71]
we have further evidence of the spirit of worship in that city with which
early Christian liturgical forms are so closely associated.

The tradition of Syriac hymnody, of which these illustrations alone may
be given from the early period, did not come to an end as Christianity
moved westward. It was continued through thirteen centuries and is
preserved in the Nestorian and other branches of the Syrian Christian

Before the main stream of hymnody in the Greek language is traced, two
sources from the second century will serve as an introduction. The first
of these is the _Epistle to Diognetus_, by an unknown author, possibly a
catechumen of the Pauline group.[72] It contains four selections,
biblical in their phraseology, the first three of which express the
redemptive mission of the Son of God:

    As a king sends his son who is also a king, so sent He Him,
    He did not regard us with hatred nor thrust us away,
    He, being despised by the people.

The fourth admonishes the Christian to union with the mind of God,

    Let your heart be your wisdom.[73]

The second source is a passage from a sermon on _The Soul and Body_,
written by Melito of Sardis, a bishop and philosopher who was martyred in
170. The author pictures all creation aghast at the crucifixion of Jesus,

    What new mystery then is this?
    The Judge is judged and holds his peace;
    The Invisible one is seen and is not ashamed;
                    . . .
    The Celestial is laid in the grave, and endureth!
    What new mystery is this?[74]

Whether admissible as a hymn or not, this passage blends, in a most
striking way, oriental and Greek elements employed in the expression of
Christian belief.

Authentic Greek hymnody begins with Clement of Alexandria, 170-220. He is
the author of a work of instruction for catechumens, the _Paedagogus_, to
which is appended a _Hymn to Christ the Savior_, {Hymnos tou sôtêros
Christou}, beginning, {Stomion pôlôn}. It is a hymn of praise and
thanksgiving on the part of those newly received into the Church. Christ
is addressed in the familiar oriental imagery of the guide and shepherd,
but the theme is rendered in a poetic style, which, by the use of short
lines and the anapest, heightens the effect of ecstatic devotion.

    Bridle of colts untamed,
        Over our wills presiding;
    Flight of unwandering birds,
        Our flight securely guiding,-- -- -- --[75]

The modern adaptation of Clement's hymn, _Shepherd of Tender Youth_, by
Henry M. Dexter, 1846, while preserving in a measure the spirit of this
piece, in no way reproduces the original. The {Stomion pôlôn} of Clement
is representative of a theme which pervades Christian hymnody in all
ages, the joy and enthusiasm of the initiate or the admonition and
encouragement addressed to the Christian who stands upon the threshold of
a new life. The _Odes of Solomon_ have been interpreted in these
terms.[76] Again, the theme is preserved in the so-called Amherst
papyrus, which consists of a hymn of twenty-five tripartite lines, a
catechism or liturgy for the newly baptized. Originating in the third
century, it appears in fragmentary form but sufficiently complete to make
clear its language and purport, as illustrated in the following:[77]

    That thou mayest receive life eternal
        Thou hast escaped the hard law of the unjust ...
                    . . .
    Seek to live with the saints, seek to receive life,
        Seek to escape the fire.
    Hold the hope that thou hast learnt. The day that
        the master has appointed for thee is known to no man.
                    . . .
    Tell the glad tidings unto children saying: the poor
        have received the kingdom, the children are the inheritors.[78]

The Amherst papyrus is a part of the new store of knowledge from
antiquity which has been opened up within recent years by the discovery
and study of papyri. This branch of archaeology and palaeography has made
available new fields of research in the study of early Christianity
hitherto unfamiliar. In 1920, among the Oxyrhynchus papyri was discovered
a fragment of a Christian hymn. It appears on the back of a strip which
records a grain account of the first half of the third century. The hymn
has a musical setting, the earliest example of Christian church music
extant. The fragment consists of the conclusion only, so that the length
and subject matter of the hymn as a whole are unknown. Creation is
enjoined to praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost, in the form of a doxology.
The meter is anapestic and purely quantitative.[79]

The _Hymn of Thekla_, {Anôthen parthenoi}, appears in the _Banquet of the
Ten Virgins_, a work of Methodius, Bishop of Olympus and Patara in Lydia,
who was martyred at Chalcis in 312. It is a hymn of twenty-four stanzas
sung by Thekla, each followed by a refrain sung by the chorus,

    I keep myself pure for Thee, O Bridegroom, and holding a lighted
      torch I go to meet Thee.[80]

Once more, a traditional theme in Christian hymnody is set forth,
familiar from biblical as well as classical connotations and perpetuated
either in the praise of virginity or in the form of the mystic union of
Christ and the Church.

It is customary in presenting the subject of Greek hymn writers to pass
from Clement of Alexandria to Gregory of Nanzianzus and Synesius of
Cyrene, poets of the fourth century who mark the beginning of a new era
beyond the limits of this study. They are mentioned here only as a
reminder of the long succession of great poets who created and maintained
Greek hymnody throughout the ancient and medieval centuries.

Contemporary with the development of Greek hymns, the literature of the
Church was moving toward its destination in Latin culture. As Latin
became a liturgical language the service hymns, already cited, appeared
in their Latin form. Perhaps this is one reason why the production of
original Latin hymns was so long postponed. It was not until the middle
of the fourth century that the hymns of Hilary of Poitiers, the first
Latin hymn writer, appeared. His authentic hymns are three in number:

    O Thou who dost exist before time

is a hymn of seventy verses in honor of the Trinity,

    The Incarnate Word hath deceived thee, (Death)

an Easter hymn, and

    In the person of the Heavenly Adam,

a hymn on the theme of the temptation of Jesus.[81] Hilary, like his
Greek contemporaries, stands at the beginning of a new era, but it was
Ambrose, and not he, who inaugurated the tradition of the medieval Latin

So far no mention has been made of the fact that the early period of
Christian history was characterized by persecution. As a rule sporadic
and intermittent, it was periodically severe. At all times Christians, if
not actually persecuted, were objects of suspicion to the Roman
government. We owe to the official zeal of Pliny the Younger, who was a
proconsul in Bithynia in 112, our first glimpse of Christian worship from
the point of view of the outsider. In a letter to the Emperor Trajan on
the subject of the Christians, he says that, as a part of their service
at sunrise, they chanted a hymn, antiphonally, to Christ as a God.[82]
Speculation as to the identity of this hymn has never ceased among
students. Leclercq summarizes the theories as follows: It is a morning
hymn later attributed to Hilary. It is the morning hymn of the Greek
liturgy. It is the morning hymn of the _Apostolic Constitutions_. It is
the Great Doxology.[83] Since they are all unsatisfactory as
identifications, we remain in ignorance on this point. A recent study of
Pliny's letter by Casper J. Kraemer, a classicist, proposes the
translation of the words _carmen dicere_, "to chant a psalm."[84] This
most interesting suggestion is in thorough harmony with our knowledge of
the continuity of the use of the psalms in public worship at this time.

                            VII. Conclusion

Reviewing the total pagan influence, both Greek and Latin, upon Christian
hymnody, it must be understood that, in comparison with Semitic pressure
in its wider implication, as well as the strictly Hebraic, pagan
influence was relatively slight. It was a matter of centuries before the
Hebrew psalms were permitted any rivals whatever in the usage of worship,
except other biblical citations or such poems as might be produced by
unquestioned churchmen. Even these were sparingly used, for _psalmi
idiotici_, as the novel and original compositions were called, were
forbidden by the Church and a new hymnody was thus stifled at its very
birth. In a period of confusion marked by the rival use of hymns on the
part of the orthodox and non-orthodox, it was felt that worship must be
safeguarded. Only after the appearance of the modern vernacular languages
in Europe in the period of the ninth century, when the liturgy had been
set apart in the Latin tongue, was any real freedom permitted in the
composition of new hymns. By that time the clergy were the poets and
Latin their chosen medium of expression.[85]

By the time of Ambrose in the fourth century, however, Greek and oriental
elements had long since merged in other aspects of civilization and, in
the course of time, Christian hymns felt the effect of a universal
development. There was a certain departure from biblical models and an
emancipation from the old poetic forms in favor of the trend toward
accent and rhyme. After all, a new religion had come into existence which
demanded an authentic expression of a spiritual aspiration beyond that of
the Old Testament models, just as Isaac Watts in the eighteenth century
turned from the tradition of psalmody to an original presentment of the
new revelation in Christ.

Are we to suppose that the Christians in the Mediterranean world of the
first three centuries, representing the average inhabitant of these
lands, had no hymns except those cited above? Or others like them? If
they had, we are unacquainted with them. It is fair to assume that
secular poetry and music eventually exerted an influence upon hymnody. At
least the beginning of such influence was apparent in the adoption of
popular meters by heretical poets, as well as by the orthodox.[86] Later,
Ambrose perpetuated aspects of popular verse and perhaps music as
well.[87] But there is no evidence at hand to support the assumption of a
popular hymnody enjoyed either in connection with worship or
independently of it.

The problem of music is outside the province of this paper but is
involved in any serious study of hymnology at any period of its
development. Here the student is almost totally at a loss for manuscript
evidence bearing musical notation from the primitive period. The
Oxyrhynchus hymn is a solitary example.[88] This does not mean that the
subject is altogether obscure. Many statements about Christian practice,
inspired by biblical precedent, are found in patristic literature. The
traditions both of Hebrew music and of the early Church are well known.
It seems clear that melody only was employed and that it was, for the
most part, unaccompanied. Instrumentation was opposed and forbidden in
public worship of a liturgical nature.[89]

No student can leave the consideration of early Christian hymnology
without a sense of defeat. The past cannot be forced to yield the hidden
knowledge of which it is the custodian. Sources are very scanty,
especially in proportion to other literary remains of early Christianity.
Specifically, there is no collection of hymns in existence which might
correspond to a modern hymnary. On the contrary, isolated examples or
groups appear from place to place and from time to time in varied forms.
But in one respect our evidence is sure, if not complete. Springing from
the culture and the vicissitudes of the age, Christian hymns of the early
Church, as in every other stage of its development, not only express the
spiritual aspiration of the time but also respond to the challenge of a
new day.

[1]H. LeClercq, "Hymnes," _Dictionnaire D' Archéologie Chrétienne, etc._
    (Paris, Letouzey, 1925), vol. 16, 2826-2928; Part I, _Hymnographie
    des trois premiers siècles_, 2826-2859.

[2]C. S. Phillips, _Hymnody, Past and Present_ (London, S. P. C. K.,

[3]J. Kroll, "Die Hymnendichtung des frühen Christentums," _Die Antike_,
    2 (1926), 258-281.

[4]J. Mearns, _Canticles of the Christian Church_ (Cambridge, Un. Press,
    1914), 1; F. Cabrol, "Cantiques," _Dictionnaire D' Archéologie
    Chrétienne, etc._, vol. 2 (2), 1976.

[5]All biblical passages quoted in this paper are given in the _King
    James Version_ of the English Bible.

[6]R. H. Charles, _The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament_
    (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1913), vol. I, 627-629.

[7]J. Mearns, _op. cit._ (see note 4), 1.

[8]F. Cabrol, _op. cit._ (see note 4), 1976-1977.

[9]J. Julian, _Dictionary of Hymnology_ (London, John Murray, 1892),
    "Canons," 461, 463.

[10]Quotations from the Psalms are not included in this paper.

[11]C. H. Toy, _Quotations in the New Testament_ (New York, Scribners,
    1884), 199-200.

[12]E. F. Scott, _The Pastoral Epistles_ (New York, Harper, no date), 14.

[13]J. Kroll, _op. cit._ (see note 3), 264.

[14]M. Dibelius, _A Fresh Approach to the New Testament and Early
    Christian Literature_ (New York, Scribners, 1936), 247.

[15]R. Reitzenstein, _Die Hellenistischen Mysterienreligionen_ (Leipzig,
    Teubner, 1927), 3rd edition, 385.

[16]G. D. Kellogg, _The Ancient Art of Poetic Improvisation_, a paper
    read at the meeting of the Classical Association of the Atlantic
    States, April 26, 1940; J. Kroll, _op. cit._ (see note 3), 259.

[17]_Contra Haereses_, III, xvii, 2; Migne (PG), VII, 929-930. For a
    recent commentator, see F. J. Foakes-Jackson, _The Acts of the
    Apostles_ (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1931), 10-13.

[18]Note the citation, _I Tim. 6:15-16_, _supra_, p. 7, in which the
    repetition of the relative clause produces a stylistic effect.

[19]Justin Martyr, _Apologia pro Christianis_, 67; Migne (PG), VI, 430.
    Translation from _Ante-Nicene Fathers_ (New York, Scribners, 1899),
    I, 14.

[20]_Didache_, xiv; Translation from _Ante-Nicene Fathers_, VII, 381.

[21]_Apostolic Constitutions_, II, lvii; Translation from _Ante-Nicene
    Fathers_, VII, 421-422.

[22]_Ante-Nicene Fathers_, VII, 371-376; _Catholic Encyclopedia_, IV,
    779f; _Encyclopedia Britannica_, eleventh edition, VII-VIII, 209f.

[23]_Didache_, ix; Translation from _Ante-Nicene Fathers_, VII, 380.

[24]_Hymnody Past and Present_, 16-17.

[25]F. E. Brightman, _Liturgies, Eastern and Western_ (Oxford, Clarendon
    Press, 1896), vol. I, _Introduction_, xvii-xxix.

[26]F. E. Brightman, _supra_, xxix; see also B. S. Easton, _The Apostolic
    Tradition of Hippolytus_ (Cambridge, Un. Press, 1934), 12.

[27]L. Eisenhofer, _Handbuch der katholischen Liturgik_, vol. I,
    _Allgemeine Liturgik_ (Freiburg im B., Herder, 1932), 150-152.

[28]_Apostolic Constitutions_, VII, 47.

[29]_Supra_, VII, 48.

[30]_Supra_, VII, 49.

[31]Translations from _Ante-Nicene Fathers_, VII, 538, 544.

[32]_Liber de spiritu sancto_, xxix, 73; Migne (PG), XXXII, 205. See also
    J. Mearns, _op. cit._ (see note 4), 16.

[33]Translation by Robert Bridges, _Yattendon Hymnal_ (London, Oxford Un.
    Press, 1920), no. 88.

[34]R. M. Pope, "Latin Hymns of the Early Period," _Theology_, 21 (1930),
    159; _Catholic Encyclopedia_, "Te deum," XIV, 468-470; C. W. Douglas,
    _Church Music in History and Practice_ (New York, Scribners, 1937),

[35]F. Cabrol, _op. cit._ (see note 4), especially Part II, _Les
    cantiques anciens_, 1976-1977.

[36]E. Norden, _Agnostos Theos_ (Leipzig, Teubner, 1913), 276.

[37]Translation from _Book of Common Prayer_ (Prot. Epis. Church, U. S.
    A.), 84. Similar effects were apparent in _I Tim. 6:15-16_, _I Tim.
    3:16_, _I Peter 2:22-25_, quoted above.

[38]K. Keyssner, _Gottesvorstellung und Lebensauffassung in griechischen
    Hymnus_ (Stuttgart, Kohlhammer, 1932). In his index Keyssner lists 72
    known authors of all periods, 37 anonymous pieces (some fragments),
    and 22 magical formulae or collections.

[39]E. H. Blakeney, _Hymn of Cleanthes_ (London, S. P. C. K., 1921), 8.

[40]E. D. Perry, Preface to A. Körte, _Hellenistic Poetry_, translated by
    J. Hammer and M. Hadas (New York, Col. Un. Press, 1929), vii.

[41]S. Angus, _Religious Quests of the Graeco-Roman World_ (New York,
    Scribners, 1929), 76.

[42]_Supra_, 77, 86, 87.

[43]_Metamorphoses_, xi, 25. Translation from S. Angus, _Mystery
    Religions and Christianity_ (New York, Scribners, 1925), 240-241. For
    the hymn from Cyme see P. Roussel, "Un nouvel Hymne à Isis," _Revue
    des Études grecques_, 42 (1929), 138.

[44]Cited by Firmicus Maternus, _De errore profanarum religionum_, 20;
    Migne (PL), XII, 1025; F. Cumont, _Textes et Monuments Figurés
    relatifs aux Mystères de Mithra_ (Bruxelles, Lamertin, 1899), vol. I,

[45]_Contra Faustum_, xv, 5; Migne (PL), xlii, 307.

[46]Cumont, _op. cit._ (see note 44), 302.

[47]A. Dieterich, _Eine Mithrasliturgie_ (Leipzig, Teubner, 1923), 14;
    Translation from S. Angus, _op. cit._ (see note 43), 241.

[48]_Philosophumena_, V, iv; _Die griechischen christlichen
    Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte, Hippolytus_, vol. iii,
    edited by Paul Wendland (Leipzig, Hinrich, 1916), 99-100. Translation
    from _Ante-Nicene Fathers_, V, 56-57.

[49]T. Taylor, _The Mystical Hymns of Orpheus_ (London, Dobell and Reeves
    & Turner, 1896), 63.

[50]J. Geffeken, _Der Ausgang des griechisch-römischen Heidentums_
    (Heidelberg, Winter, 1929), 18; M. Hauck, _Die hymnorum Orphicorum
    aetate_ (Dissertation, Breslau, 1911); O. Kern, _Die Herkunft des
    Orphischen Hymnenbuch_ in _Carl Robert zum 8. März 1910 Genethliakon_
    (Berlin, Weidmann, 1910).

[51]R. Reitzenstein, _Poimandres_ (Leipzig, Teubner, 1904), 59, 347f.

[52]Translations from S. Angus, _Mystery Religions and Christianity_,

[53]Phillips, _Hymnody Past and Present_, 13.

[54]_Ut queant laxis resonare fibris_ (Paulus Diaconus, d. 799);
    _Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen_ (Johann Heerman, 1630);
    _Where is the Friend for whom I'm ever yearning_ (Johann Wallin,

[55]_Acts of Thomas_, IX, 108. Translation from M. R. James, _The
    Apocryphal New Testament_ (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1924), 411. See
    also B. Pick, _The Apocryphal Acts_ (Chicago, Open Court Pub. Co.,
    1909), 312.

[56]According to Pick _op. cit._ (see note 55), 312, it is a Gnostic
    development of _Phil. 2:5-11_.

[57]O. Bardenhewer, _Patrology_, translated from the 2nd edition by T. J.
    Shahan (Freiburg im B., Herder, 1908), 107.

[58]J. Kroll, _op. cit._ (see note 3), 270.

[59]Acts of Thomas, I, 6. Translation from M. R. James, _op. cit._ (see
    note 55), 367.

[60]Acts of John, 94, 95. Translation from M. R. James, _op. cit._ (see
    note 55), 228, 253.

[61]Augustine, _Epistula_ ccxxxvii; Migne (PL), xxxiii, 1034. See also
    Leclercq, _op. cit._ (see note 1), 2841.

[62]_Philosophumena_, v, 5; Text, _op. cit._ (see note 48), 102.
    Translation from _Ante-Nicene Fathers_, V, 58.

[63]_Philosophumena_, vi, 32; Text, _op. cit._ (see note 48), 167.
    Translation from _Ante-Nicene Fathers_, V, 91.

[64]E. Norden, _op. cit._ (see note 36), 69.

[65]H. Burgess, _Select Metrical Hymns and Homilies of Ephraem Syrus_
    (London, Blackader, 1853), 77-83.

[66]J. R. Harris & A. Mingana, _The Odes and Psalms of Solomon_, vol. I,
    _Text_; II, _Translation_ (Manchester, Un. Press, 1916-1920), II, 69,
    187-189, 197; J. R. Harris, _Odes and Psalms of Solomon_ (Cambridge,
    Un. Press, 1909), 1-15; M. Dibelius, _op. cit._ (see note 14),
    248-251; J. Kroll, _op. cit._ (see note 3), 265-268.

[67]Harris & Mingana, _Odes and Psalms of Solomon_, II, 232.

[68]_Supra_, 259.

[69]_Supra_, 362.

[70]_Supra_, 369.

[71]_Supra_, 69.

[72]_Ante-Nicene Fathers_, I, 23.

[73]Chapters vii, ix, x, xii. Translation from _Ante-Nicene Fathers_, I,
    27, 28, 29, 30.

[74]Translation from _Ante-Nicene Fathers_, VIII, 756.

[75]Poetical translation from _Ante-Nicene Christian Library_ (Edinburgh,
    Clark, 1867), IV, 343, by William Wilson. A familiar poetical
    translation is found in B. Pick, _Hymns and Poetry of the Eastern
    Church_ (New York, Eaton & Mains, 1908), 21.

[76]Harris & Mingana, _op. cit._ (see note 66), 187.

[77]B. F. Grenfell & A. S. Hunt, _Amherst Papyri_ (London, Frowde,
    1900-1901), 23; Leclercq, _op. cit._ (see note 1), 2853f.

[78]Translation from P. D. Scott-Moncrieff, _Paganism and Christianity_
    (Cambridge, Un. Press, 1913), 83-84.

[79]B. F. Grenfell & A. S. Hunt, _Oxyrhynchus Papyri_, Pt. XV (London,
    Oxford Un. Press, 1922), no. 1786, 21-22; also Preface.

[80]{Symposion tôn deka parthenôn}, xi, 2; Migne (PG), XVIII, 207-214;
    Translation from _Ante-Nicene Fathers_, VI, 351.

[81]W. N. Myers, _The Hymns of Saint Hilary of Poitiers in the Codex
    Aretinus_ (Philadelphia, Un. of Penn., 1928), 12, 29, 53, 67. For a
    discussion of other hymns attributed to Hilary see _supra_, p. 14 and
    A. S. Walpole, _Early Latin Hymns_ (Cambridge, Un. Press, 1922), 1-4.

[82]_Epistulae_, x, 96.

[83]Leclercq, _op. cit._ (see note l), 2837-2838.

[84]C. J. Kraemer, "Pliny and the Early Church Worship," _Classical
    Philology_ 29 (1934), 293-300.

[85]H. F. Muller, "Pre-History of the Mediaeval Drama," _Zeitschrift f.
    romanische Philologie_ 44 (1924), 544-575.

[86]J. Kroll, _op. cit._ (see note 3), 273-274.

[87]E. Norden, "Die Literatur," in _Vom Altertum zur Gegenwart_ (Leipzig,
    Teubner, 1921), 41-49.

[88]Grenfell & Hunt, _op. cit._ (see note 79), 22. There are 8
    recognizable notes in the Diatonic Hypolydian key of Alypius. The
    mode is Hypophrygian or Iastian.

[89]J. Quasten, _Musik und Gesang in den Kulten der heidnischen Antike
    und christlichen Frühzeit_ (Münster im W., Aschendorff, 1930), ch.

                          Transcriber's Notes

--In the text version, _italicized words_ are delimited by underscore

--In the text versions, {Greek words} are delimited by curly brackets,
  and transliterated according to Distributed Proofreaders conventions.
  Note that circumflexes (which mark long vowels) appear in Latin-1 but
  are lost in ASCII translation.

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