Now Available! Liber Hymnorum

lh_mockuprender_800px300dpiWe are pleased to announce that Liber Hymnorum: The Latin Hymns of the Lutheran Church is now available for purchase! On that page, you can also have a look at the inside, including the Table of Contents and a sample of hymns in English and Latin.

Throughout the past week we have been posting excerpts from our interview with editor and translator Matthew Carver. Now for the final installment: “This book is unique in several ways. For one, it is uncommon for any modern hymnal, and especially a Lutheran one, to be printed in Latin, which is unfortunate since music assists learning. With the increase in classical education today, this is an important aspect. Another rare aspect is that it presents the old forms of the ancient hymn melodies as they were known in early Reformation Germany. With many anglophone enthusiasts of ancient hymns being more familiar with the forms of the melodies from Rome and Sarum (England), the differences in these forms will be quite interesting. This book is also unique in its inclusion of later Latin hymns by several Reformation authors (translated, what is more, into the appropriate meter).”

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“Liber Hymnorum is yet another example of Mr. Matthew Carver’s ability and propensity to deliver to our generation the great, lost treasures of the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s past. Mr. Carver and Emmanuel Press have done the churches and schools of the Church a great service by editing and publishing such a fine volume of hymns.”
-Pr. Rob Paul, Headmaster, Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, Roswell, NM

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A quick note about purchasing Liber Hymnorum

Today we received word from our printer that Liber Hymnorum is ready! We’re heading to Ohio tomorrow to pick up the books so that we can have them available at the “Lutheranism and the Classics” conference in Fort Wayne. This has really been down to the wire, but we are thrilled that we can debut Liber Hymnorum with author Matthew Carver in person. The book will be released on this website on Friday, September 30. If you want to know when the page is live, like us on Facebook or sign up for email updates on the right sidebar.

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How can Liber Hymnorum be used in a classical education or homeschool setting?

lh_mockuprender_800px300dpi“It is particularly with classical Latin teachers and homeschoolers in mind that the Latin (with normalized spelling) has been included, though it will also be of interest to scholars as well. The Church’s Latin, especially as found in its best hymnody in addition to the Latin psalter, is an important part of a well-rounded Latin course, since it gives students a sound example of a medieval Latin embraced by every age of the Latin-speaking church and filled with Christian content. The effort to sing a few stanzas every day will reward any student with improved familiarity with Latin poetry, and the melodies will serve as a mnemonic device, making the texts easier to learn by heart. Older students can also find in the Latin hymns models for their own composition practice. The Gregorian notation, too, with its modes and clefs, is an important part of music history. Nevertheless, the modern notation provided in the English section can be used to play and teach the Latin hymns.”
-From our interview with author, editor, and translator Matthew Carver (see previous posts for more Q & A)

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Liber Hymnorum will be a powerful resource in our house. As a liturgical Lutheran, I am thankful to have another devotional tool, especially one with simple, beautiful melodies and meaningful text. I am humbled and pleased that this hymnal can emphasize our continuity of faith over generations and centuries!…This will be a great resource for liturgical Lutherans, families, catechizers, homeschoolers, Latin students, and anyone interested in history, theology, Lutheranism, or the Reformation.”
-An excerpt from the forthcoming review by Deaconess Mary J. Moerbe, homeschooling mother of six, Lutheran author and speaker, who encourages Lutheran writing at maryjmoerbe.com

We hope to have Liber Hymnorum available for purchase on Friday, September 30! We are waiting for the final word from our printer before going live. To stay informed, like us on Facebook or sign up for (occasional) email updates on the right sidebar.

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How would Liber Hymnorum be used devotionally?

lh_mockuprender_800px300dpiMatthew Carver: “Liber Hymnorum is arranged according to the church year, with the “de tempore” (times and seasons) in the front and “de sancto” (saints and festivals) in the back of each section. This makes use in home or church fairly simple and straightforward. Christians, through these hymns, find expression for their own spiritual sentiments in response to God’s gifts each hour and day and reflect on the themes of the season or feast, tying in with what happens at church.  The prayer service hymns (hymns of the daily office, or Liturgy of the Hours) especially can and should be used by Christians at home as well as in those churches where Matins and Vespers are offered. A regular course and use of these ancient hymns anchors the mind and heart to the hours, days, seasons, and all time as God arranges it.

“The melodies are given in standard notation (resembling the stemless chants found in our modern hymnals) as well as the original Gregorian notation. For those able to read Gregorian notation (a worthy endeavor; not as hard as it looks!), the Latin hymns are completely underlaid, so there is no guesswork in which syllable goes on which note, leaving the mind freer to contemplate the spiritual depths of the text (or at least, to grasp the basic meaning of the Latin!).”

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Liber Hymnorum: Why are these hymns important?

lh_mockuprender_800px300dpiMatthew Carver: “These hymns are important, first, because they are the Church’s hymns. They have been used by God’s people for centuries, have stood the test of time, and have been carefully tended and passed on for the use of every generation. In them we find our own prayers, praises, and thanks to the Triune God joined with those of the saints of every age. This collection, in particular, is also important because it features the peculiar forms of the melodies as they ‘grew up’ and took on their own ‘accent’ in the bosom of the medieval church of Germany. A lot of people familiar with ancient hymns are nevertheless unaware of the rich multiplicity of ancient hymn tunes from the times before later scholars normalized, and yet sadly erased, many of these beautiful peculiarities. Thus we are at the same time given a window into the musical culture of the early Lutheran period in Germany.”

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An endorsement from Dr. Robin Leaver, Visiting Professor, Yale University; Honorary Professor, Queen’s University: “Many Lutherans have forgotten – or do not know – that Latin hymns were not banished when Luther created his sturdy German hymns, but both continued side by side in the liturgical and devotional life of the early Lutheran churches. A simplistic equation has often been presented: Latin hymns are Catholic; vernacular hymns are Lutheran. But the sensitivity towards some Latin hymns was not linguistic but theological. Since the Reformation was nurtured and promoted by Latin schools, Latin hymns – corrected if necessary, as well as newly written – continued to be sung by the Latin scholars. This singing was often in alternation, with scholars singing each stanza in Latin and the parishioners following with the same stanza in German. This valuable collection, which is based on early Lutheran sources, on the one hand, witnesses to the historic Lutheran tradition of Latin hymnody, and on the other, is a practical collection of Latin hymns with English translations. The Latin hymns can be sung in seminaries and conferences where Latin is known and the vernacular versions sung from time to time in parishes. And there is also the possibility of experiencing the early Lutheran tradition of singing the alternate stanzas of a hymn in Latin and the vernacular. Matthew Carver is in our debt for drawing our attention to this neglected liturgical tradition and for making these texts, translations, and music accessible.”

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More details about Liber Hymnorum

lh_mockuprender_800px300dpiWe are still finalizing the release date for Liber Hymnorum, but we do have a few more details to share. It is a hardcover book, 342 pages, 6″ x 9″, selling for $35.00.

Over the course of the next week, we plan to provide excerpts, more of the interview with author Matthew Carver, and additional endorsements. Today, we offer you his answer to our question regarding the translation and settings:

“The translation came about mainly in two ways. First, since most of the ancient hymns for the prayer services were unchanged when Lutherans incorporated them into their hymnals, I took a similar approach and used the familiar translations we have of those hymns, written by some of the great poets and translators of the 19th and 20th century, such as Edward Caswall, J. D. Chambers, and J. M. Neale. Above all, I tried, where possible, to use those translations which are familiar to Lutherans (and Christians generally) through books such as the English Hymnal and The Brotherhood Prayer Book. At the same time, some of the collection represents an alteration or accommodation to pure Lutheran doctrine. For these, I started with the familiar translations and tweaked those parts which the Lutherans had tweaked, which were not many, to be fair, since the majority of the most ancient hymns appointed for use in the church are doctrinally pure. Additionally, there are several Reformation-period hymns written in Latin by the learned poets and teachers of the day, such as Philip Melanchthon. These were composed to ancient meters and set to ancient melodies (the only new melody here is that for the Latin version of Luther’s “Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort”). And while some of these have been translated into German and from German into English, they have not, before now, been translated directly into English verse to be sung to the same melody. These Reformation-period hymns are thus presented here for the first time for church and devotional use.”

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Coming Soon! Liber Hymnorum: The Latin Hymns of the Lutheran Church

lh_mockuprender_800px300dpiWherever you fall on the spectrum of Latin — a scholar, a teacher or student of classical education, or a novice — you will find Liber Hymnorum: The Latin Hymns of the Lutheran Church to be an absolute treasure. Liber Hymnorum is two hymnals in one, the first half being English, the second Latin, exactly mirroring the first half in contents and numbering.

As author, editor, and translator Matthew Carver explains: “This book is a collection of hymns taken exclusively from Lutheran hymnals and chant-books of the Reformation and post-Reformation era. Specifically, it contains the old medieval Latin hymns which Lutheran churches in various parts of Germany still sang at morning and evening prayer (especially in urban areas with Latin schools) with the original Gregorian chant melodies that they used, here with Gregorian melodies with the Latin, and modern notation with the English. It also includes some other ancient hymns sung at the beginning of the Divine Service as well as some Latin carols. Basically, anything I found in old Lutheran hymnals that was (a) in Latin, (b) set to music, and (c) designated to be sung in church, I included.

“Each half is arranged in the form of a church hymnal such as might be used for morning and evening prayers, with the hymns keyed to different times of day (evening, night, early morning, mid-morning, noon, afternoon), the days of the week, the seasons of the church year (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, etc.), and Christian festivals of apostles and saints, some more generalized, some for specific saints. After this come the ancient Divine Service hymns for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday. These are further augmented by Benedicamus hymns (for the end of the prayer services) and the medieval Latin carols, many of which are familiar to us.”

Over the course of the next week, we will be posting excerpts from an interview with Mr. Carver, addressing such questions as to the translation and settings, how and by whom the hymnal can be used, and why Liber Hymnorum is so unique. To stay informed, like us on Facebook or sign up for (occasional) email updates on the right sidebar.

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“Matthew Carver has once again done an enormous service for the Church by providing for us his Latin-English Hymnal. This work gathers into one the many Latin hymns that shaped our spiritual forebears as they sought to read and understand and proclaim the Sacred Scriptures in the light of the Church’s historic Christological hermeneutic. Now for English speakers, these classic hymns from the early and medieval church that survived well past the Reformation and helped shape the piety of our great dogmaticians and vernacular hymnwriters can be enjoyed in our own tongue and can help shape our own piety.”    -Pr. William Weedon, Chaplain, LCMS Director of Worship

“It is refreshing to find, in one volume, respectable translations (many by Neale already familiar) of Latin hymns I have been chanting all my long life. One applauds this labor of love.”      -Fr. Pat Reardon, Touchstone Magazine

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Matthew Carver was born in Long Beach, California, and attended California State University, Long Beach, earning bachelor’s degrees in Classical Civilization and German Studies. He also studied studio arts, receiving his MFA in painting and drawing from San Francisco Art Institute in 2005. His published works include The Great Works of God, Walther’s Hymnal, The Christian Year of Grace (2014) (trans.), and the Saints Catherine & Maurice Daily Lectionary.

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NEW: Create your own assortment of Christmas cards

magnificat-600px-1Have we mentioned that you can now create your own custom assortment of our Christmas cards? One price, you choose the assortment. Buy in bulk to save 20%!

Choose from a variety of designs, including stained glass, illumination, triptych, classic art, and original commissioned pieces.

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A Review of The Word Remains — Pr. Todd Peperkorn

thewordremains600pxPr. Todd Peperkorn has posted a review of our new book, The Word Remains by Wilhelm Löhe, on his blog. Here’s an excerpt, but be sure to visit his website and read the entire thing:

“In this little volume the reader will find that nearly every sentence drips with Gospel infused wisdom. I found myself wanting to highlight every page, until I realized that the whole book is worthy of that kind of careful attention….My best suggestion for this work is to buy and read it straight through, so you have a sense of the whole. But then sit back and let the words linger for a time. Take a couple pages a day and drink them in. Don’t be in a hurry. The words will be there and aren’t going anywhere.”

-Todd Peperkorn in his review: A Hopeful Book by an Old Lutheran

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Now Available: The Word Remains by Wilhelm Löhe

Front cover 400pxWe are pleased to offer you The Word Remains: Selected Writings on the Church Year and the Christian Life by Wilhelm Löhe. Originally published under the title of Sein Zeugnis, Sein Leben, this collection of excerpts from Löhe’s extensive writing is now available for the first time in English. Read a more complete description, have a look at the Table of Contents, and find purchase information here.

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“Prayer is as necessary for the soul as breathing is for the body. It is…the breath of the soul. When a body stops breathing, it is dead; a soul that does not pray is also dead. But I desire that all your souls live; therefore, it is also my desire that you breathe, that is, pray.” (p. 46)

“Nothing determines eternity but faith — not works nor suffering, not knowledge nor feelings. It is only faith that gives peace and quietness, strength and steadfastness, clarity and harmony of the soul! Running about is worthless. Whoever counts on works, feelings, or knowledge, as if they should make him holy, is lost.” (p. 44)

“It is dawning over the graves, and the cemeteries are fields in which undying hope is blooming. May we stand firm in this, may the Spirit of the Lord seal it in us when we die; and when the ground yields beneath our feet, then may we be certain of this, that we will rise again like our Lord and that, just like the criminal who was crucified next to Jesus, our souls will live with Him in paradise until the day of resurrection. May the Prince of Life in His grace grant us such faith than conquers death.” (p. 68)

“It is a hidden glory in the Christian life to practice faithfulness in little things, that is, in one’s vocation; yet it is more difficult and more glorious than martyrdom. Martyrdom is aided by an agitated time, an emotional disposition, and it is often quickly won; it only takes a brief moment. But being faithful in little things involves bearing patiently the quiet tedium of a monotonous, elapsing life to the praise of the Lord.” (p. 81)

“Therefore, take comfort: it is not all over for those who have fallen asleep in the Lord! They are merely sleeping. He who by His own death-sleep in the grave sanctified our graves as mere bedrooms stands even now at the deathbed, calling, ‘Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden!’ And when He lays them in the dust of death, He says, ‘I will give you rest!’ and ‘Here you will find rest.’ And if death is sleep, then each of the dead have the hope of resurrection.” (p. 64-65)

“Whoever belongs to the Lord confesses; he confesses before friend and foe alike. He is not ashamed of the Gospel but freely admits that he belongs to the Church, whether he be praised or ridiculed, whether he reap sorrow or joy, profit or loss.” (p. 75)

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