I am delighted to share the news and help spread the word that Delvyn Case is now a Patheos blogger! His blog will focus on the Bible and music, a longstanding interest we both share, which is what led to us making one another’s acquaintance in the first place. His blog is called Alleluia! Music and the Christian Life, and by the time I realized it was live, it already had several interesting posts on it. Take a look!
The name of the podcast comes from an organization that Del founded. Check out their website to learn more, perhaps starting with their project In the Shadow of Your Wings, which has been conducted in person in the past but is now online. It provides an interactive way of engaging with the Psalms through music as well as text.
Del is a faculty member at the Wheaton College in Massachussetts (not to be confused with the one near Chicago). Some of Del’s own compositions explore biblical texts. If you’d like to explore beyond what is on his website, try the album Strange Energy.
A new composition of Del’s was originally planned to be performed in Boston in conjunction with AAR/SBL. The conference was supposed to be held there in November of this year, but has now been moved online due to the pandemic. That new work explores the version of the Akedah or Binding of Isaac in one of the sources of the Pentateuch. That was previously hypothetical, but has now apparently been confirmed by other evidence in the form of an Egyptian papyrus. In that version of the story, Isaac is not spared from being sacrificed! Jim Davila mentioned it in responding to a blog post at The Anxious Bench. I’m not sure when we’ll all get to hear the work performed given the impact of the pandemic on both academic conferences and the arts, but I look forward to it and will share any additional news that comes my way.
Let me include some other things of interest at the intersection of the Bible and music that have come to my attention. To begin with, Leonard Cohen has also offered his own exploration of the Isaac story:
More on Cohen and his music here:
Leonard Cohen is also a source in this:
The story of Abraham and Isaac also comes up in this post by Tim Gombis, part of a series on why we should not think (much less say) “God is in control”:
Another biblical piece that I came across just recently is Israeli composer Ella Milch-Sheriff’s work based on Song of Songs, “Dark Am I”:
Just in the interest of sharing more biblical music here, let me also include these settings of the Ave Maria by Romanian composer Șerban Nichifor.
Del’s project and interests are not at all limited to “Classical” or “art music.” And so to provide a well-rounded post that reflects that, let me end with Shakira and the Bible, since things written both about her early work with biblical allusions and resonances, and about her more recent halftime Super Bowl show, have come to my attention:
Here is a leading New Testament scholar talking about the Bible and Beyoncé:
And here’s another Patheos blog that focuses on music: