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With John Dickson

A world-first for music, Christianity and history

The First Hymn Project tracks the attempts of historians and musicians to resurrect an ancient Christian hymn and give it back to the world.

P.Oxy 1786 is a scrap of parchment uncovered in the ruins of the Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus. Specialists were stunned to discover it contained not just the words of the oldest Christian hymn ever to be found, but the music as well. For the first time the world could not only know what these ancient believers were singing about, they could also hear what they sounded like.

The First Hymn Project follows historian and author John Dickson as he traces the history of P.Oxy 1786 from its ancient resting place in Egypt to the United Kingdom, and then its journey to Australia and America as two of the world’s finest Christian musicians seek to resurrect the song for the modern church.

Professor John Dickson - The First Hymn Project - Undeceptions


Professor John Dickson is a well-respected and internationally seasoned historian. His teaching and research positions include time as a Fellow and lecturer in the Ancient History Department at Macquarie University, a lecturer in the Hebrew, Jewish and Biblical Studies Department at Sydney University, Distinguished Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Public Christianity at Ridley College Melbourne, and Visiting Academic in the Faculty of Classics at Oxford University. He currently holds the Jean Kvamme Distinguished Chair at Wheaton College, Illinois, where he is also Distinguished Scholar in Public Christianity.

John has published over 20 titles covering a range of topics from ancient history to theological insights. He is also no stranger to television. Two of John’s books became documentaries, as well as airing nationally on Channel 7 (The Christ Files and Life of Jesus). A third documentary, For the Love of God: How the Church is Better and Worse Than you Ever Imagined, was released in Australian cinemas in June 2018, and aired on Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, later that year. The First Hymn Project lies at the intersection of John’s historical and philosophical interests, and his gifts as a singer-songwriter.


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