Here’s something that will show you how much there is to know.
You don’t have to search very hard to find scores of reference books that document the Bible’s use in art, literature and movies. But there has been no such material published on how the Bible has been used in Western music.
In The Bible in Music: A Dictionary of Songs, Works, and More, scholars Siobhan Dowling Long and John F. A. Sawyer correct this gap in Biblical reference literature, providing for the first time a convenient guide to musical interpretations of the Bible. Alongside examples of classical music from the Middle Ages through modern times, Dowling Long and Sawyer also bring attention to the Bible’s impact on popular culture with numerous entries on hymns, spirituals, musicals, film music, and contemporary popular music.
Each entry contains essential information about the original context of the work (date, composer, etc.) and, where relevant, its afterlife in literature, film, politics, and liturgy. It includes an index of biblical references and an index of biblical names, as well as a detailed timeline that brings to the fore key events, works and publications, placing them in their historical context. There is also a bibliography, a glossary of technical terms and an index of artists, authors, and composers.
Siobhán Dowling Long is a musicologist and musician who lives in Ireland and John F.A. Sawyer is a Scottish biblical scholar. Together they have produced a fascinating and insightful book that filled a niche that has been sorely neglected.
Anyone who loves the Bible should enjoy this book, especially those involved in singing, composing, studying or teaching music.
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