A Bible Typo as Prelude to the Hymn of Jesus

The Acts of John concludes with Jesus leading his disciples in song (with words that Gustav Holst famously set to music). Abram Kielsmier-Jones spotted a typo in an English heading in his Greek New Testament, which may provide the backstory to the incident in the Acts of John: [Read more...]

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Silent Night (arr. Stephen Paulus)

This arrangement of Silent Night by Stephen Paulus was featured on Performance Today recently, and it is stunningly beautiful and hauntingly moving. And from the same episode of Performance Today, here is advice from Fred Child and Tesfa Wondemagegnehu on how not to have your performance of Silent Night crash and burn towards the end: [Read more...]

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A Spaceman Came Traveling

A newer rendition of the classic sci-fi Christmas song by Chris DeBurgh, “A Spaceman Came Traveling,” here performed by Celtic Women. This performance was drawn to my attention via the new book from Rowman and Littlefield, The Bible in Music: A Dictionary of Songs, Works, and More. [Read more...]

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50 Ways to Forge a Gospel

As the song lyrics indicate, it genuinely was at the 2015 York Christian Apocrypha Symposium that I got the idea for this song, and mentioned it to Bart Ehrman over a drink after his keynote address, which was the primary inspiration for the song, although the whole range of papers were in mind and there [Read More...]

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Once Upon a Universe

I hadn’t heard this song by Jake Heggie before today. It depicts God as a child creating, despite admonishments from his mother. The video features mezzo-soprano Kara Cornell. I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone discuss its theology, and so I thought I would share it here and invite discussion! [Read more...]

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Baba Yetu

I’ve mentioned the song Baba Yetu before. It is music from the game Civilization IV, and the words are the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili. This a capella version by Peter Hollens with Malukah is a nice arrangement. Now that I am diving into learning Swahili, I should probably apply something that has proven helpful with [Read More...]

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Ultimate Concern

I had the privilege of sharing the song I wrote, “Ultimate Concern,” at Crooked Creek Baptist Church today. I am grateful to the musicians who participated in learning the song and performing it with me. The inspiration from the ideas of Paul Tillich will be obvious to those familiar with his writings. Here are the [Read More...]

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Pistis Sophias

The composition is by Andrew Violette, and the score, which is visible in the video, is also available on IMSLP. [Read more...]

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Mandaean Music

One of the best questions I was asked after my recent talk about the Mandaeans was from a music professor, who asked whether the Mandaeans have a distinctive musical tradition. I did not know the answer, and still do not, but the question is an important one, and I hope that some musicologist might one [Read More...]

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Doubt (Work of Wolves)

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Paul the Gentiles’ Apostle

This bit of musical satire emerged from the course on Paul and the Early Church that I taught this semester. Some may just get a kick out of it, but others may be truly happy to have a Biblical alternative to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Either way, I hope you enjoy it! [Read more...]

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