ea, who "speak with tongues and magnify God" (Acts 10:45-46), or the Ephesians who "spake with tongues, and prophesied" (Acts 19:6), or perhaps the disciples on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4). Irenaeus, a second century father of the Church and bishop of Lyons, referring to the scene at Pentecost, mentions the singing of a hymn on that occasion. The nature of improvisations is fugitive. They arise from individual inspiration and, even if expressed in familiar phrases, are not remembered or recorded by the singer or hearer. To whatever degree improvisation played a part in early Christian hymnody, to that same degree we lack corresponding literary survivals. Possibly this is one explanation of the dearth of sources which we now deplore.
On the whole, the hymnic evidence found in the New Testament points to a predominant Hebrew influence. Both in the use of psalms and other Old Testament hymns and in the phraseology of new hymns, the Christians found themselves more at hom
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