Tag Archives: high culture

On the meaning of “culture

On the meaning of “culture

Mahoney’s assessment of how the word “culture” has evolved to describe almost anything in human civilization is correct; I trace this evolution in By the Waters of Babylon. My solution to this evolved redefinition was to connect the current definition with the New Testament, and then to specify the term “high culture” for what “culture” used… Continue Reading

The Democratization of American Christianity by Nathan O. Hatch

The Democratization of American Christianity by Nathan O. Hatch

This entry is part 11 of 18 in the series Books Every Conservative (and Liberal) Christian Should Read You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

“Fundamentalists and Pentecostals share all the virtues and vices of popular culture,” says Nathan Hatch as he applies his analysis of the development of American Christianity. “Following the long tradition of democratic Christianity in America, Fundamentalists [which includes what are more commonly known today as Evangelicals] and Pentecostals reject modernity as it is expressed in… Continue Reading

The Historical Development of “Culture”

The Historical Development of “Culture”

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Toward a Biblical Understanding of Culture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Historically,1 the term “culture” did not emerge in its common use until the late 18th century. The term itself is much older, its Latin roots centered squarely in discussion of agriculture. As early as 1776, however, the term began to be used metaphorically to describe what Matthew Arnold called “the best which has been thought… Continue Reading

Distinguishing high culture from folk culture

Distinguishing high culture from folk culture

This entry is part of 6 in the series Vaughan Williams on Culture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

A primary goal of Vaughan Williams was, of course, to compose art music. His many hours finding and indexing folk tunes resulted in the use of many of those melodies in his own compositions. As such, a distinction between art and folk music in his understanding is self-evident. Cecil Sharp, however, makes this distinction more… Continue Reading

Distinguishing High, Folk, and Pop Culture

Distinguishing High, Folk, and Pop Culture

This entry is part of 6 in the series Vaughan Williams on Culture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

A common error exists frequently in contemporary discussions of the use of folk idioms as a compositional element in art music. Many authors today equate folk music with popular forms such as jazz, rock, and blues. In fact, the terms “folk” and “popular” have unfortunately come to be synonymous in conventional speech. For instance, George… Continue Reading

The Enlightenment and Christian Hymnody

This entry is part 11 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This far in our journey we have witnessed an almost unbroken stream of Judeo-Christian tradition. From King David to Lutheran composer Johann Crüger (1598-1662) we find a slow and steady cultivation of poetic and musical forms. There were certainly bumps in the road and many changes along the way, yet for around 1800 years the quality… Continue Reading

Reformation Hymns

This entry is part 6 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

When Martin Luther (1483—1546) sparked a Reformation of the Church by nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the Church door at Wittenberg in 1517, he challenged the Roman Church’s doctrine and practice, but never its musical forms. The musical forms of the Reformation continued to follow in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The most significant change Luther made for… Continue Reading

How Christian Were the Middle Ages?

How Christian Were the Middle Ages?

Editor’s note: This article is posted partially in response to discussion of Scott Aniol’s post on medieval hymnody. I have suggested elsewhere that the civilization of the medieval West was imbued with Christian ideals, and that those ideals were abandoned after the Enlightenment. This assertion provokes several challenges in the popular mind, two of which… Continue Reading

Medieval Hymns

Medieval Hymns

This entry is part 10 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

When Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 with the Edict of Milan, and Christianity soon became the religion of the entire empire, the cultural conditions within which the Church thrived changed into a situation that had not been enjoyed since before the Hebrew exile. Soon the Church gained prominence over all aspects of politics and… Continue Reading

The Watts Controversy

On the wall in my study I have three portraits. All three are portraits of theologians who were also heavily involved with music. They are Martin Luther, J.S. Bach, and Isaac Watts. All three men fought their battles in defense of high standards for worship music. All three had their share of controversy. And all… Continue Reading

The Sovereign Grace/Getty Music Question

The Sovereign Grace/Getty Music Question

Just about everywhere I go, I am asked for my thoughts and opinions about using songs produced by Sovereign Grace Ministries, Stuart Townend, and/or Keith and Kristyn Getty. (Songs written by these writers are often closely associated, in large part because Sovereign Grace Ministries has an influential music publishing arm that also promotes Townend/Getty songs.… Continue Reading

Correcting Categories, Part 7 – The Nature of Pop

Correcting Categories, Part 7 – The Nature of Pop

My goal in this series is to help believers apply the Bible to their musical choices in life and worship. My contention is, however, that believers today approach the issue of musical choices with certain errant foundational presuppositions that need to be corrected before they can rightly apply the Bible in this area. So my… Continue Reading

When Cultures Collide

When Cultures Collide

I’ve taken pains on this site to explain the differences between high culture, folk culture, and pop culture. Last night my wife and I witnessed a very enlightening collision of all three types of culture. Some friends of ours invited us to join them for an evening at the Rockford Symphony (incidentally, we had front… Continue Reading