Thursday, November 7, 2013

Springsteen Thursday: Bruce The Theologian

More stuff for Springsteen Thursday:

I want to teach this course! Azzan Yadin-Israel is teaching a course at Rutgers on the theological roots of Bruce Springsteen's music.  Here is a taste of a recent interview with Dr. Yadin-Israel:

Rutgers Today: Is there one dominant theological philosophy running through the Springsteen lyrics you’ve analyzed? Which biblical stories does he link to? 

Azzan Yadin-Israel: Interestingly, Springsteen refers more often to the stories of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) than the New Testament. On a literary level, Springsteen often recasts biblical figures and stories into the American landscape. The narrator of “Adam Raised a Cain” describes his strained relationship with his father through the prism of the biblical story of the first father and son; Apocalyptic storms accompany a boy’s tortured transition into manhood in “The Promised Land,” and the first responders of 9/11 rise up to “someplace higher” in the flames, much as Elijah the prophet ascended in a chariot of fire (“Into the Fire”). Theologically, I would say the most dominant motifs are redemption -- crossing the desert and entering the Promised Land -- and the sanctity of the everyday. Springsteen tries to drag the power of religious symbols that are usually relegated to some transcendent reality into our lived world. In his later albums he also writes very openly about faith.