I am replying to my own thread, but I wanted to add that this body of literature that I am dealing with -- i.e. hymns, and to some extent carols, for the Christmas season -- is SOOO rich. A linguist would call it a "corpus", I believe. The vocabulary is often archaic -- and wonderfully so. The imagery is amazing. Since the hymns began as poetry, the sentence structure is often VERY unusual. Anastrophe occurs all over the place.
Of course, when I was teaching in public school, this body of literature would have been inappropriate because of the division between church and state. But NOW, I can indulge myself. Putting this literature into historic perspective can be so enlightening! The fact that Catherine Winkworth did all of that translating from German; the fact that up until about 1700 only psalms of David were allowed; the connection to Holland's fight for freedom evident in "We Gather Together"; etc.
I just wanted to share.