Monday, July 20, 2009

Trueman on poetic expression

'What is being taught is inseparable from how it is being expressed.'
Carl Tueman, quoted by Justin Moffatt here.
This is why I don't think you can fiddle with the words of a poem/lyric without interfering with the writer's intention.

Other literary genres are different.

Go on then. Bring out the same old arguments against copyright for christian stuff. Tell me that open source where no-one pays for anything and uses everything however they want is the way of the future. Tell me that I don't understand because I'm not gen Y.


Incidentally, none of this is new.
"And here I beg leave to mention a thought which has long been upon my mind, and which I should long ago have inserted in the public papers, had I not been unwilling to stir up a nest of hornets. Many gentlemen have done my brother and me (though without naming us) the honour to reprint many of our hymns. Now they are perfectly welcome so to do, provided they print them just as they are. But I desire they would not attempt to mend them ; for they really are not able. None of them is able to mend either the sense or the verse. Therefore, I must beg of them one of these two favours : either to let them stand just as they are, to take them for better for worse ; or to add the true reading in the margin, or at the bottom of the page ; that we may no longer be accountable either for the nonsense or for the doggerel of other men."

London Oct. 20 1779. JOHN WESLEY. From the preface to the 1780 hymn book.


  1. I like how you backed up your argument about something not being the way of the future by bringing up a quote from a 1780 hymn book.

  2. "What is being taught is inseparable from what is being expressed."

    Yet when it comes to purpose - to teaching/encouraging/serving one's immediate congregation - shouldn't the church leader have some discretion? After all, in a global church, a song-writer can't be completely cross-cultural in the effectiveness of their communication (I'd say even in the same city, some words/phrases would be interpreted differently).

  3. Hmmm... It seems that Mr Wesley was ok with alteration with acknowledgement.

  4. Oh, and why are other genre different?