Society for the Study of Music and the Bible

I had a conversation yesterday with fellow New Testament scholar Holly Hearon, and the conversation found its way to a topic of mutual interest, the intersection between music and our primary fields of research and teaching. I soon found myself persuaded that we need a society that brings together (online at least to begin with, but eventually also in person) people whose interests and work are at the intersection of these two domains. This would include: those who study the influence of the Bible on music, whether classical or contemporary, as an instance of the reception history of the Bible and/or as an aspect of human culture; those who set Biblical texts to music for liturgical or other purposes; those interested in setting ancient hymnic texts to historically appropriate period music and recording it on period instruments; those interested in the use of music in pedagogy; and the list can obviously go on.

I thought the first step would be to see how many people would be interested in this. I expect this to include not just scholars who work on the Psalms, or on Philippians 2:6-11 and would be interested in hearing it performed in Greek in a style of music that could have existed in Philippi in the first century, but also Biblical scholars who simply happen to play the guitar or the piano (you know who you are, and you know that I know, so you know that I’m talking about you, right?)

Does this sound like something worthwhile? Does it overlap with something that already exists? I’m floating the idea in the interest of getting feedback, and so please do leave a comment!


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  • Al

    I would be interested. Have done some research on the anti-imperial nature of songs in the NT.

  • I have an interest as a musician and in the te’amim. I believe I am the first person ever to have transcribed automatically the Hebrew text into Music XML. There is great potential here for investigating this aspect of the Hebrew text.

  • Andrew Davies

    I’d certainly be interested, James, and have published in this field. I know Deborah Rooke from Oxford has similar interests too and she might well be interested.

  • Jeff Carter

    as a (somewhat) talented amateur in both areas, i am interested.

  • SG Quimpo

    While I am by no means a NT scholar yet….as a guitarist exploring genres from extreme shred tricks to kwaito-punk and classical (although I play by ear and pattern) I am also pursuing my MTh in NT with part of my research interests being reception and cultural anthropology…..I would definitely be interested in following the work of such a society

  • Joshua Waggener

    Greetings. I am a scholar in music, aesthetics, and theology. Consider joining our forum on such topics with the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music: