In most branches of Christianity, there are choirs, solo song or even Christian rockbands. I remember reading that in the case of Christianity most people where illiterate when they started making psalms, hymns and songs.(before making stained glass to even make the visual part taken care of).

Is Christianity the first to incorporate this so widely into their religious structure? If not my question would be which would be the first? And as a bonus is there any record of this First Song (or lyrics)?

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    You do realize that anything from the Old Testament (such as the Book of Psalms) is pre-Christian...
    – Spencer
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


Religious song is likely as old as religion or song. The Standard of Ur dated to the 26th century BCE, shows someone playing a harp:

.Standard of Ur

(Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain, my highlighting).

Hymns to the Sumerian gods were written down in poetic form during the Early Dynastic Period of ancient Sumer. The Kesh Temple Hymn was found on clay tablets excavated at Nippur and dated to the 26th century BCE. (English translation here)

But singing is one thing, writing it down is another. Proving it's a "song" requires some sort of musical notation.

The so-called "Hurrian Songs"" come from some cuneiform tablets discovered in the ruins of ancient Ugarit in the 1950s. Dated to the 14th century BCE, the tablets were first translated as music in 1972 by Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, professor of Assyriology at the University of California.

The tablet below shows a song to the Canaanite goddes Nikkal:

Hurrian song tablet

(Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domian)

You can listen to the song here.

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