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Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music

ISBN: 9781441251718
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From an iPod to a 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. Under Christ's lordship, such a pervasive and universal influence deserves informed theological reflection.

In this well-rounded study, Jeremy Begbie examines the connections between music and theology by engaging Scripture, musical history, and contemporary culture. He explores how God's truth sounds and how it might "re-sound" in the realm of music. Appropriate for classes in music, theology and the arts, and Christian cultural engagement, Resounding Truth will help the reader 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.

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Key Features

  • Contains a Scripture and Subject index
  • Includes illustrations

Top Highlights

“Gaining theological wisdom about music from Scripture will come more from taking account of the whole sweep of God’s creative and redemptive purposes that Scripture recounts than by scrutinizing specific biblical references to music.” (Page 59)

“Theologically, the most general and basic reason is simply the lordship of Jesus Christ” (Page 15)

“Levites did not see themselves as offering song instead of the congregation but on behalf of the congregation,” (Page 66)

“music, for Bach, can glorify God in its own way, even without texts” (Page 134)

“music is fundamentally something done and done in a social context” (Page 61)

Praise for the Print Edition

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

Product Details

  • Title: Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music
  • Author: Jeremy S. Begbie
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 416

Jeremy Begbie is the Thomas A. Langford Research Professor at Duke Divinity School, and specializes in the interface between theology and the arts. Previously, he served as the associate principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and has also been honorary professor at the University of St. Andrews, where he directed the research project, Theology Through the Arts at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts.

Begbie studied music and philosophy at Edinburgh University, and theology at Aberdeen and Cambridge. A professionally trained musician, he has performed extensively as a pianist, oboist and conductor. He is an ordained minister of the Church of England, having served for a number of years as assistant pastor of a Church in West London. He is author of a number of books, including Voicing Creation’s Praise: Towards a Theology of the Arts, Theology, Music and Time, and most recently, Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music, which won the Christianity Today 2008 Book Award in the theology/ethics category.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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  1. Allen Bingham
  2. Bill Shewmaker