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To Express the Ineffable

The Hymns and Spirituality of Anne Steele

Studies in Baptist History and Thought

by Cynthia Y. Aalders

Imprint: Wipf and Stock

234 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.47 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781606086001
  • Published: April 2009

$28.00 / £21.00


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Anne Steele (1717-1778) was one of the most well-known and best-loved hymn-writers of the eighteenth century, and her hymns remained exceedingly popular until late in the nineteenth century, being reprinted regularly in hymnbooks throughout Britain and North America. She was the first major woman hymn-writer as well as the most popular Baptist hymn-writer in the history of the church. Despite this, she has been largely neglected as a subject of academic enquiry until now. This book aims to elucidate Steele's spirituality and to clarify her unique contribution to eighteenth-century hymnody. It takes an interdisciplinary approach, setting Steele's devotional expression in its theological, literary, and historical contexts, and providing comparison to other eighteenth-century figures. It uses archival sources to reconstruct her life and work, offers a close reading of her verse, and concludes that Steele made a significant and as yet underrated contribution to eighteenth-century devotional expression.

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