Perspectives in Religious Studies 47/2 (2020)
Mandy McMichael, "All Out of Tune: The Failures of The Psalmist to Keep the Peace," 161–73
An examination of The Psalmist, a hymnal published in 1843 and intended for the entire community of Baptists in America, illustrates a divide between Baptists North and South. Compiled by two northern ministers, Baron Stow and S. F. Smith, the original Psalmist omitted many hymns popular in the South, making it a less attractive option for the region. The omissions are understandable, since Baptists North and South espoused conflicting views about the composition and function of hymns and denominational structures. They preferred different liturgical contexts, read and interpreted scripture through different lenses, and held different theologies. For this reason, the original Psalmist received a Supplement. Still, it failed to unite Baptists North and South. Looking closely at the Psalmist and its subsequent Supplement illumines larger cultural and geographic divides by revealing as much about history as it does about musical tastes. Together, The Psalmist and its Supplement serve as excellent prisms for understanding what was at work in Baptist schism.