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Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music (Engaging Culture) Paperback – December 1, 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A profound, rigorous, and original work. Very few new books in theology or religious studies show this level of freshness and imagination. I hope it will be a landmark essay in this crucial field of reflection on theology and the creative arts." - Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

From the iPod to the car radio, from movie soundtracks to Muzak at the shopping mall, from singing in the shower to the concert arena, music is an unavoidable part of our lives. Not only is music ubiquitous, it is powerful: creating moods, evoking memories and images, uniting people, and providing an outlet of expression for even the most tone deaf among us. Besides its prominent position in culture, music has obviously had a key role in the worship of God's people.

This well-rounded study examines the connections between music and theology by engaging Scripture, musical history, and contemporary culture and exploring how God's truth sounds and how it might "re-sound" in the realm of music. Resounding Truth will help readers develop discernment and wisdom, both for thinking about music in the church and Christian life and for engaging with one of culture's most influential touchstones.

"A profound, rigorous, and original work. Very few new books in theology or religious studies show this level of freshness and imagination. I hope it will be a landmark essay in this crucial field of reflection on theology and the creative arts."
--Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

"Jeremy Begbie is musician/theologian par excellence. Whatever music you enjoy and wherever you are on the journey of faith and understanding, he will delight, surprise, challenge, and inspire you. A wonderful book by a wonderful writer, thinker, and musician."
--N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham

"Jeremy Begbie has published a number of fine books in which he, as both a Christian theologian and a practicing musician, reflects on music; but this is his finest. It is theologically acute, deeply informed by both the history of music and the history of reflections on music, and throughout displays Begbie's wide-ranging engagement with music of many kinds from both the past and the present. A rich contribution!"
--Nicholas Wolterstorff, Yale University and University of Virginia

"Jeremy Begbie's thinking emerges out of a fusion of the best musical thinking about theology and the best theological thinking about music. The resulting text is charged with energy and insight--and not just for musicians and theologians. This vital work is poised to energize and strengthen the entire Christian community."
--John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

"This book resounds with the thoughtful, dynamic, and always engaging voice of Jeremy Begbie. Marked by a breathtaking range, driven by a creative vision, and packed with judicious insights, it will no doubt shape conversations about theology and the arts for years to come."
--Roger Lundin, Wheaton College
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Product Details

  • Series: Engaging Culture
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (December 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801026954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801026959
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
RESOUNDING TRUTH: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music (Engaging Culture) (Paperback) by Jeremy S. Begbie

Jeremy Begbie is professor of Theology at Cambridge University. Most of his work deals with cross-pollination between Christian theology and the arts. There is currently a Youtube link with a fine presentation by Begbie called "THE SENSE OF AN ENDING: The Musical Self" from University of California TV back in the 90s. [...]
After seeing that video (which you can buy online and I recommend), I wanted to read his writing and finally found this reasonably priced volume aimed at a non-academic audience. It is a kind of introductory course on how Christians have sought to understand what music really is and to discover both the source of, and proper uses of, the powers of music to enhance life and deepen faith. He starts with a historical review of thought on the subject including classical views and includes a nice section on Luther's views on music--as well as of Calvin, Zwingli, and other influential Christian thinkers. He includes the work of several "modern" composers with a spiritual bent. (E.g. He discusses how these have found ways to represent timelessness as well as temporality in their works.) He discusses the tensions between composer and performer. He discusses the ambivalence of many Christians regarding the fleshly and the spiritual powers of music. He overviews everything that the Bible says about musical instruments.

In the main part of the book he presents his own work and thoughts on the subject, covering but amplifying what is in the Youtube video. It is very thought provoking, profound, and wonderful--a rich and pretty much non-technical presentation.
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Begbie draws on numerous disciplines such as music theory, music history, philosophy and Christian theology to explore music and Christianity. He also connects with modern culture and how music is approached in both sacred and secular contexts. Among the most interesting points were his discussion of time and creation and how they relate to our view of music. It's a very well written book, and was more interesting and easier to read than most academic books. Because of the depth of theological discussions this book would probably even be of interest to people who are interested in Christian theology even if music is not a primary interest.
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Excellent work, just the sort of "theology of music" text I've been looking for. Of course not exhaustive (how could a book on such a subject be?) but rich, sympathetic and highly thought-provoking. A draught of cool water to a lifelong music fanatic, particularly classical and sacred choral.
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Format: Paperback
Covers the history of the philosophical conversation about music's meaning and truth, significant theologians' regard and use of music, and the musical strategies of various composers to convey theological ideas.
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