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Bach Among the Theologians: Paperback – November 6, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub; Reprint edition (November 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597522775
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597522779
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Charles S. Houser VINE VOICE on July 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Pelikan is a truly amazing and articulate thinker. He seems to intuitively know what is important--whether providing a theological overview of Chrisitan history or, as here, focusing in on a single subject. What I found especially refreshing in BACH AMONG THE THEOLOGIANS is Pelikan's appreciation of Bach as a highly creative man who was truly a man of his own time. He puts to rest (for me anyway) the somewhat artificial argument about the sacred and secular strains in Bach's work. This "tension" ultimately does not seem to have been as big a deal for Bach as it has become for modern historians, musicians, theologians, etc. Perhaps, because Bach's sense of the sacred was much more encompassing than we highly compartmentalized moderns ever allow it to be. In any case, the fact that so many highly divergent groups want to claim Bach as their own is probably sufficient proof of Bach's transcendant greatness.
This is a highly readable--though thoughtful and concentrated--book that deserves to be more broadly available. Perhaps some publisher will see fit to reissue it in paperback. I'd preorder a copy today if that was the case.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Chelle Stearns on June 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I read this book (which I borrowed from the library) 4 years ago, and I am still looking for my own copy. It is an invaluable book for any Bach lover. Pelikan connects Bach musical interpretation of texts with the work of a theologian. His main thesis is that Bach was just as important of a theologian as he was a musician. Interesting reading. This is a 'must have' book!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By David F. Sczepanski on October 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent in-depth survey of Bach's work in light of theological influences of his time. He wrote music, whether sacred or secular, in a vocation that was to the glory of God. (I am trying to secure reprint permission from Dr. Pelikan through Wipf & Stock publishers (Eugene, OR). If that happens it will be back in print. Otherwise, I have one lonely copy.) P.S. They allowed a small reprint. I have a few extra copies now.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By LuelCanyon on February 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book reaps a marvelous harvest from a sparklingly original idea. Pelikan goes to the root source of Bach's genius, his faith. The result is a crop of new ideas not only of the grandeur of Bach's music and the interior impetus of genius, but as well a real searching the authentic reaches of theology. The Capellmeister lives again here in a way I've not encountered since Evening in the Palace of Reason. Pelikan's chapter on themes and variations in the Passions, and the meditation on redemption in the Matthew Passion, are together worth twice the price here. I've studied and played Bach all my life, and Bach Among the Theologians gives arresting freshness to a nearly sixty year passion. Bach would want you to read this book!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "cstearns@uswest.net" on June 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is a 'must have' for any Bach lover. Pelikan talks about Bach's musical interpretation of text, and his understanding of his faith. His main premise is to place Bach 'Among the theologians' in history, where he rightfully belongs.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca M on April 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Pelikan's work is an unsentimental look at the influence of Pietism and evangelical thought on a composer who has been too often oversimplified as "staunchly Lutheran." He questions the assumptions we make based on a standardized "psychobiography."

Not surprisingly, there is not an in-depth engagement with the music (he relies heavily on Spitta, Schweitzer, etc.), but Pelikan does offer some excellent textual analyses. He promotes a re-reading of Bach's career, demonstrating that a lack of sacred output in Cöthen did not necessarily define a "low point" for the composer.

While the book as a whole seems to lack cohesion in some places, it does function very well as a set of separate essays. Particularly cogent are the chapters on ""Mediation on Human Redemption" in the St. Matthew Passion" and "Pietism, Piety and Devotion in Bach's Cantatas." The book is an important contribution to interdisciplinary dialogue about the figureheads of Classical music and should be embraced in that spirit.
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