don’t rely on hymns for your religious education

In the Episcopal church the gradual hymn is the one sung before and after the Gospel reading. On Easter 3 the gradual hymn at Good Shepherd Episcopal was not one in the hymnal but was printed in the bulletin. It conflated the disciple John, the author of the Gospel of John, and the author of Revelation.

The disciple John was a Galilean Jew who was in his prime about 30 AD and spoke Aramaic. The Gospel of John was written about 90 AD by someone who was very literate in Greek. We don’t even know that his name was John. That name was assigned to the book by the early church, though some commentators like to say the phrase “the disciple whom Jesus loved” was the author’s own autobiographical reference. Most scholarship does not accept that, however.

The book of Revelation was written by John of Patmos about the same time as the Gospel of John or perhaps a few years later. It was almost certainly a different individual.

Then there’s the Christmas carol:

quoteThe snow lay on the ground,
The stars shone bright,
When Christ our Lord was born

Snow? In the Holy Land? And in any case if we accept Jesus being kept in a manger and shepherds watching their fields by night, Jesus would have been born in the spring or summer. December 25 for Christmas was a fairly late adoption.

Don’t rely on hymns for your religious education.

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