Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rock and Roll and the Bible

By far the most widely read book of all time, the Bible influences us in complex ways. From the ultra-pious depicted in books like in Dan Brown's 'The Davinci Code' to the casual interpretation of it as an interesting bit of mythos. It is possible that more bloodshed has been caused because of the Bible than for any other reason in human history. Yet, however we see it, there is one thing that we can all agree on--the Bible has influenced our society and our culture.

In Robert Jordan's the Wheel of Time series there are several references to Biblical characters:

Be'lal- one of the Forsaken, bent on the destruction of peace, closely resembles Belial of the Apocrypha*

Asmodean- another of the Forsaken could be said to come from Asmodeus of the Book of Tobit

(An interesting article about name usage in The Wheel of Time series can be found at the Thirteenth Depository)

But beyond fantasy novels--which by and large are dependent upon some form of religion--music is also known to reference the Bible.

By music I mean modern rock and roll not hymns or Christian rock. A perfect example of this would be U2. Did you know that U2 frequently refers to the Bible in their lyrics?
"The sun is burning black ... the moon is running red ... the stars are falling down" -- from Revelation 6, 12-13: "Then I watched while he broke open the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; the sun turned as black as dark sackcloth and the whole moon became like blood. The stars in the sky fell to the earth like unripe figs shaken loose from the tree in a strong wind."
In fact their use of the Bible is so thorough that I couldn't possibly list them all in one blog post. (You can go here and here to find out for yourself)

But what got me thinking about this topic in the first place was the song "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen.

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof                                           David and Bathsheba
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair                      Samson and Delilah
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

When I first set out with Jennifer to create this blog I was at a loss to come up with songs that went with books. As I've researched and talked to authors I've discovered that literature and music are inseparable. As all the 'arts' are.

Music and literature are as bound together as dance and music. Just as literature and movies are deeply connected so are movies and music. Art instills the need to burst into song, song evokes the need to create.

Evidently the Bible is just as susceptible to this inclusion as the rest.

Here's my favorite version of Hallelujah.

*It is worth noting that many Christian religions do not view the Apocrypha as divinely written and therefore do not use it. There are some, however, that still do.

Author: Robert Jordan
            Dan Brown
Music: U2
           Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen

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