Original Research - Special Collection: Practical Theology

Hymns across the water … translated and relocated: The reception of Scottish hymns in translation

Elsabé Kloppers
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 2 | a4500 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i2.4500 | © 2017 Elsabé Kloppers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 January 2017 | Published: 31 May 2017

About the author(s)

Elsabé Kloppers, Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, University of South Africa, South Africa


In this article a broad overview of the reception of Scottish hymnody in translation is given. Considering the pivotal role the metrical Psalms used to play in the Scottish churches, they are considered first. Only one metrical Psalm made it to be translated widely and to be included in hymnals over the world. It is the metrical setting of Psalm 23, The Lord’s my Shepherd, paired to the tune of Scottish origin, CRIMOND. It is argued that the metrical psalm owes much of its popularity to the tune. A hymn with a text from the Scottish Paraphrases, paired to a Scottish tune, DUNDEE, and for long the only hymn in the Afrikaans churches with a Scottish connection, is discussed with regard to its reception in these churches. It serves as an example of how a hymn could be translated and relocated and function in a new context. In an overview of Scottish hymns translated and included in the newest hymnals in other countries, such as the Netherlands and Norway, it is shown that primarily hymns and songs of the Iona Community are translated and included in the newest hymnals, with John Lamberton Bell being the main exponent as text, hymn and song writer.


Scottish hymnody; hymns; Christian songs; translation


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