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Au chemin de salvation: La chanson spirituelle réformée (1533-1678)
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Languages, Department of Modern Languages.
2005 (French)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
On the Way to Salvation : The Spiritual Songs of the Reformation (1533-1678) (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the role played by spiritual songs in spreading the ideas of the Reformation in France and French-speaking Switzerland between 1533 and 1678. It brings to light a series of lesser known editions of spiritual songs written by anonymous authors. These works also entitled Spiritual Songbooks were published in at least 18 editions.

Using a historical, editorial, literary and textual approach, the use and impact of these spiritual songs are explored. The historical approach places these songs in perspective with spiritual songs in general, historic chronicles, and documentation of censured works. The songs were sung in parallel with the Marot and Bèze Psalter and in public places i.e. outside churches but were censured early by the authorities because they were considered subversive. An inventory of all the editions has been made and includes extant copies, and lost and probable editions. It provides an overview of the scope of the spiritual songs and their success, and lists approximately 370 songs from all the editions in a table format.

The editors’ intentions appear in the forewords to their spiritual songbooks. Early editions express goals that correspond with Luther’s goal to announce God’s work to our neighbour, whereas later editions lean more towards Calvin’s moral reform. The intentions also appear in a study of the various versions of each song. Here, the authors are concerned with modernising the text to bring it up to date while keeping it theologically accurate. The detailed analysis of the text is based on the 1555 edition. This analysis covers the theological content, the role of polemics and the kind of songbook studied. The moral reform program announced in the forewords is not strongly reflected in the texts. This thesis argues that the songs’ function can be described in terms of sermons even though songs of worship and prayer for private devotions appear as well.

The first editors of spiritual songs find a new media which, while it will be used by both confessions at a later date, contributes from the start to the spread of the Reformation. To further investigate the role of spiritual songs for the later spread of the Reformation would enrich the study of this period. From a literary point of view it is an original effort to communicate theology to an unschooled audience.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Institutionen för moderna språk , 2005. , 383 p.
Keyword [en]
French language, French literature, Spiritual songs, Cantical, Renaissance, Reformation, Protestantism, Calvinism, Sermon, Devotion, Prayer, Pierre de Vingle, Parody technique, Contra facta, Religious literature, Biblical paraphrase, Matthieu Malingre, Psalter
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-6177OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-6177DiVA: diva2:167416
Public defence
2005-12-17, Geijersalen, 6-1023, Engelska parken, Thunbergsv. 3P, Uppsala, 14:15
Available from: 2005-11-24 Created: 2005-11-24Bibliographically approved

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