Psalmen som händelse och handling


  • Eva Haettner Aurelius Ph.D. Professor emeritus in Comparative Literature University of Lund


This study focuses on the performativity of the hymn, applying literary theories of performativity to hymns from the present Swedish hymnal (Den svenska psalmboken of 1986, where the first 325 hymns are common to many Christian denominations in Sweden). It is argued that the temporality, locality and social context of singing a hymn to a considerable degree defines how it will be understood by those participating in the singing. The analysis of hymn texts compares performativity theory to traditional hermeneutic analysis of the same texts, with special reference to factors of temporality of texts (the present tense being strongly represented) and the pronominal status of the text (a “we” or “I” being defined by the hymn texts). Of special importance here are different types of direct address: exhortations, exclamations, invocations and questions. This addressivity together with the present tense and first person pronouns are identified as prime linguistic factors enabling the performativity that constitutes the performance and act of the hymns