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Tangled Up in the Bible : Bob Dylan and Scripture - Michael J. Gilmour

Tangled Up in the Bible

Bob Dylan and Scripture


Published: 1st February 2004
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Bob Dylan has had a profound influence on the shape of modern pop music (folk, rock, blues). As a modern literary figure, he has also attracted enormous attention from both professional and amateur "interpreters." Although articles about Dylan's religious beliefs--born Jewish, Dylan converted to Christianity but then moved quickly away from the Christian faith--there has never been a book devoted to Dylan's use of scripture in his lyrics. Gilmour offers a thorough study of Dylan's reading of scripture in this book. He explores the ways that Dylan transforms biblical images and concepts when he incorporates them into his literary world; it is an attempt to listen to the echoes of scripture in Dylan's published works. Gilmour closely reads Dylan's poems and songs and provides commentaries on several themes found in Dylan's work: the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus; apocalypse, judgment, and justice; oppressive religion and religious irony. Through these readings, Gilmour suggests the various ways in which Dylan uses scripture both in an explicit and an implicit manner.

"In Tangled Up in the Bible: Bob Dylan and Scripture, Michael J. Gilmour gives the most comprehensive analysis to date of Dylan's long love affair with the characters, themes and lyrical possibilities of both the Old and New Testaments. Gilmour's slim book is essentially a monograph on a subject that has long deserved academic treatment. But Gilmour's credentials extend beyond academe. A professor of New Testament at Providence college in Otterburne, Canada, he also draws upon more than 20 years as a self-professed Dylan fanatic. The author also includes a valuable 28-page index of biblical references and parallels in Dylan's work." -America, 5/3/04 Title review in Christianity and Literature--, "Bob Dylan is more than "just a song and dance man" and this analysis of his biblical moorings by Michael Gilmour offers more than just a peek at the religious affections of a cultural icon. This is a serious investigation that contributes both to the study of religion in America and to a deeper understanding of the twentieth century's most enduring populist poet. Gilmour respects the ambiguity and mystery of Dylan's art while exposing an undeniable engagement with scripture that has informed the hesitant prophet's lyrical repertoire for forty years. The connection between Dylan and the Bible is sufficiently vital that anyone intrigued by the artist's puzzling poems will benefit from Gilmour's insights." Mark Allan Powell, Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary--Sanford Lakoff "The songs of Bob Dylan are so Bible-soaked that it takes a Bible scholar to ferret out all of the references and allusions. Michael Gilmour does so with a stance that is both critical and affectionate, always enlightening and never preachy. Dylan fans will enjoy discovering the variety of ways in which the artist has drawn upon scripture throughout his forty-year career. And anyone interested in the integration of literature, religion, and culture will be simply fascinated by this insightful journey into the mind of America's pop-star prophet." Mark Allan Powell, Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary--Sanford Lakoff "Michael J. Gilmour's Tangled Up in the Bible is a wonderful examination of the biblical allusions that have found their way into Bob Dyalan's lyrics and poetry from his earliest writings through to the present day. As Gilmour so effectively illustrates, Dylan's spirituality is vast and complex, but firmly rooted in the Bible. Tangled Up in the Bible is likely to become a classic, of interest to Dylan's highly literate fans as well as scholars and theologians, in the ever-growing library of books about arguably the most prophetic lyricist of our time." Marcia Ford, co-author with Scott Marshall of Restless Pilgrim: The Spiritual Journey ofBob Dylan.--Sanford Lakoff "In this insightful and engaging book Michael J. Gilmour brings his expertise as a Biblical scholar to explore connections between popular culture and the Bible. His lucid analysis of the influence of the Bible on the poetry and lyrics of Bob Dylan are accessible and valuable to a wide range of readers. There is no doubt that this book is an original piece of research that makes a substantial contribution to the field of pop culture and the Bible." John I. Milton Lecturer in Biblical Studies, Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University--Sanford Lakoff "Michael J. Gilmour finds Dylan a profound interpreter of human nature; this is why Dylan often finds himself in the fertile words and themes of the Bible. From the neophyte to the ensconced, those 'understanding' Dylan will appreciate this volume's desire to be descriptive, rather than prescriptive. Dylan seems to think his audience 'gets it; and Gilmour's source studies explore the roots of our understanding." Harold Penner, Assistant Editor, ARC: The Journal of the Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University--Sanford Lakoff "There is an integrity to Bob Dylan's body of work that attracts serious study and admiration, even devotion. Tangled up in the Bible "is an expression of Michael Gilmour's devotion to Bob Dylan as a poet and as a performing artist. In its devotion to its subject matter, this book's main strength is as an enthusiastic invitation to this field of pop music and biblical study. Gilmour offers a wealth of biblical references, from the biblical names of characters in Dylan's songs to the outlining of Christian conversion in Dylan's 1979 album Slow Train Coming"." -"Toronto"" Journal of Theology" " "Gilmour succeeds in his intention to make his work accessible to all potential audiences and it will be of interest to scholars of popular culture, religion, and the Bible, as well as non-academic Dylan enthusiast. Gilmour identifies themes consistently created in Dylan's use of scripture, in particular, Dylan's use of the role of prophet, images of apocalypse, and the idea of redemption. This catalog of references and his observations on Dylan's theme will certainly be useful to anyone interested in Dylan's lyrics and popular use of the Bible." -"Religious Studies Review, January/April 2005" Title review in Christianity and Literature--Sanford Lakoff

Prefacep. ix
Bob Dylan and the Bible: Introductory Mattersp. 1
Is Bob Dylan Also among the Prophets?p. 27
We Heard the Sermon on the Mountp. 57
World Gone Wrong: Bob Dylan's Apocalyptic Visionp. 71
A Prophet Like Moses: Redemption in "Love and Theft"p. 91
Some Conclusions: Last Thoughts on Bob Dylan's Use of Scripturep. 101
Appendixp. 105
Bibliographyp. 143
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780826416025
ISBN-10: 0826416020
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 160
Published: 1st February 2004
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 0.8
Weight (kg): 0.22
Edition Number: 1