Saturday, August 8, 2009

Quick historical trivia

Here's a query for all you trivia fans out there:

What was the first book published in the American colonies?

You've probably guessed it's related to church music. In 1640, the Puritans published their tome "The Whole Book of Psalms Faithfully Translated into English Metre." It was text only, with a musical leader expected to "line out" the Psalm tone so the congregation could sing it back. Our basic technique of singing responsively hasn't changed much since that time. However, we tend to focus on smaller excerpts from the Psalm. According to some accounts, the Puritans would spend as much as 30 minutes singing Psalms.

It's an amazing tribute to our American forebearers that they felt the need to publish a hymnal so early in their settlement (and found a certain little college by the name of Harvard to train their ministers as well). They had faith that God was guiding their venture; they prayed for his blessings; and they praised Him for their success. A good example for us to follow - and a good Trivial Pursuit or Jeapordy tidbit, perhaps.


  1. I love this photo. Old and dusty treasures warm my heart.

  2. Yes, the New England settlers' history in the "wilderness" is an interesting story. One would wish they might have been kinder to Native Americans, "witches," and others whose behaviors did not conform to their narrow world views, however. Maybe it's not enough to repeat the phrases, but instead we need to think about how they should effect our actions?