Search this journal:     Advanced search
Original Research

Liberating language and concepts of the divine in contemporary hymnody

June Boyce-Tillman

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 38, No 2 (2017), 9 pages. doi: 10.4102/ve.v38i2.1614

Submitted: 13 April 2016
Published:  30 November 2017


This article will examine from an auto-ethnographic perspective the language of hymnody and how it has developed over the last 25 years through the period of secularisation and postsecularisation. It will interrogate and analyse the words used for the Divine in a drive towards an inclusive language approach to God. It will look at the arguments of feminist theologians towards feminine images for the Divine and then how far these images will be acceptable in secular contexts, especially in secular rituals that include people from a variety of belief backgrounds in a post-secular world. It will use examples from woman writers and draw on the author’s experience of revising her own hymns for a variety of contexts. These will be interrogated in the light of debates around spiritual but not religious, multifaith dialogue and post-secularisation. It will look at a variety of approaches to the Christian narrative in contemporary UK – devotional, cultural and story – examining the language appropriate for these various approaches and various contexts.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Hymnology crosses the disciplines of music, theology, liturgy and ritual (sacred and secular) and has implications for all these areas, especially Church liturgy and sacred music in secular contexts. It is lyrical theology, which spans the arts and theology and expresses theological ideas in an artistic form.


Full Text:  |  HTML  |  EPUB  |  XML  |  PDF (2MB)

Author affiliations

June Boyce-Tillman, Centre for the Arts as Well-being, University of Winchester, United Kingdom; School for Music, NorthWest University, South Africa


post-secularisation; hymnody; the Divine; auto ethnography; spirituality


Total abstract views: 75
Total article views: 52


No related citations found

Comments on this article

Before posting your comment, please read our policy.
Post a Comment (Login required)

ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

Connect on: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube

Subscribe to our newsletter

All articles published in this journal are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license, unless otherwise stated.

Website design & content: ©2018 AOSIS (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved. No unauthorised duplication allowed.

AOSIS Publishing | Empowering Africa through access to knowledge
Postnet Suite #110, Private Bag X19, Durbanville, South Africa, 7551
Tel: 086 1000 381 
Tel: +27 21 975 2602 
Fax: 086 5004 974

publishing(AT) replace (AT) with @

Please read the privacy statement.