Belshazzar and Other Scripture in Song

Belshazzar and Other Scripture in Song September 17, 2019

A while back, Richard Beck pointed to Johnny Cash’s song “Belshazzar” as an example of the currency that certain stories or just phrases from the Bible once had, but largely no longer do. Being “weighed in the balance and found wanting” is the particular example in mind here, but there are obviously many others. Here’s the video of the Johnny Cash song:

Georg Friedrich Haendel composed an oratorio around the story:

Jean Sibelius and William Walton both composed works with the title “Belshazzar’s Feast”:

I won’t only limit myself to Belshazzar in this post. Indeed, Walton’s piece begins with Isaiah! And so given that there’s a natural segue, also have a listen to this setting of Isaiah 2:19-22, “Et introibunt in speluncas petrarum,” by my Butler University colleague Michael Scherperel:

Although none of them are musical settings of biblical texts, you can hear more of his music on his SoundCloud page.

Now, back to the Bible and music:

Bob Macdonald shared some thoughts on the process of setting a biblical text to music.

Psalms 104 Sung in Ancient Hebrew

On music and the psychology of religion:

Guest Post – Psychology of Religion: Love the Lord your God with all your mind

John Leach applies academic perspectives on music to the leading of worship.

Today is the feast day of Hildegard of Bingen

Only tangentially related, here’s a Christian author talking about the inspiration heavy metal music has provided him with. But even more tangentially related, here are some thoughts on the relationship of music, art, philosophy, and enjoyment. And finally, an oldie but a goodie, Allan Bevere shared this bit of humor: On the difference between praise songs and hymns.




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