Religion Past and Present

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I. Term and Genre – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Liturgical Studies

I. Term and Genre

The Greek word ὕμνος/hýmnos, whose etymology is obscure, originally meant, quite unspecifically, simply “song” (the verb ὑμνεῖν/hymneín, “ to sing”; cf. Hes. Theog. 11.33; Hom. Hym. 3.178, etc.). Yet, from the 5th/4th century bce at the latest, it meant “song for a god” (cf. Plato, Leges 700 b 1–2; Xenophanes 21 B 1.13 DK; Xenophon, Cyrupaideia 18.1.23) and thence became…

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Käppel, Lutz, Hossfeld, Frank-Lothar, Lattke, Michael and Praßl, Franz Karl, “Hymn”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 24 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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