Tuesday, February 05, 2008

"The Sound of the Dove" a review on Amazon

My review from Amazon.com of Beverly Bush Patterson's The Sound of the Dove: Singing in Appalachian Primitive Baptist Churches

"Folks who are theologically inclined tend to try to understand churches by understanding their theology and listening to what is said in books, sermons, and courses.

Beverly Bush Patterson uses another means to understand the Primitive Baptist churches: their music, specifically their songs, songbooks, song tunes, and hymn choices in individual congregations. While not downplaying Primitive Baptist theology and preaching, the author sees their music as a perhaps more reliable means of understanding how theology and doctrine plays out in congregational life.

This includes a detailed analysis of hymn and song choices and hymn tune choices in congregations. And while I'm making this sound dry, this book is anything but dry: it is a good, well-written, well-told analysis of a little-known group in American religious life.

A slightly secondary theme in the book is the role and function of women in Primitive Baptist churches. This isn't an easily done analysis, since women in Primitive Baptist churches operate in a "silent" setting in their churches, neither preaching nor holding offices within the congregations. Patterson seeks to understand how women in these congregations understand their faith, live within the parameters of their theology, and express their faith."

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