The Gospel According To Bob Dylan

Overview


Since the early 1960s, music fans have found Bob Dylan's spirituality fascinating, and many of them have identified Dylan as a kind of spiritual guru. This book, written by a scholar who is a longtime fan, examines Dylan's mystique, asking why audiences respond to him as a spiritual guide. This book reveals Bob Dylan as a major twentieth- and twenty-first-century religious thinker with a body of relevant work that goes far beyond a handful of gospel albums.
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Gospel According to Bob Dylan

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Overview


Since the early 1960s, music fans have found Bob Dylan's spirituality fascinating, and many of them have identified Dylan as a kind of spiritual guru. This book, written by a scholar who is a longtime fan, examines Dylan's mystique, asking why audiences respond to him as a spiritual guide. This book reveals Bob Dylan as a major twentieth- and twenty-first-century religious thinker with a body of relevant work that goes far beyond a handful of gospel albums.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Gilmour (New Testament studies, Providence Coll., Manitoba) offers a broader study here than in his Tangled Up in the Bible: Bob Dylan and Scripture, now considering religion as just one aspect of Dylan's art. He notes that Dylan is a "wandering observer" whose innate curiosity "takes him everywhere in his search for religious meaning." Gilmour does not claim to know Dylan's religious beliefs but finds that "religious language is everywhere in his songs." He writes at length about the biblical connotations of several specific Dylan songs (e.g., "Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts" and "Thunder on the Mountain") and explores the significance of the Rolling Thunder Revue tour (1975–76). Not surprisingly, Dylan's much publicized brief late 1970s conversion to fundamentalist Christianity receives insightful analysis as Gilmour tries to understand the hostility and confusion expressed by Dylan's fans then. He also writes convincingly about the album Street Legal (1978) as a harbinger of Dylan gospel albums to come and—a highlight—discusses the religious content in Dylan's 2003 film, Masked and Anonymous. VERDICT With a chronology and ample notes, this important contribution to Dylan scholarship will be eagerly read by die-hard Dylan fans; it is also recommended for anyone with an interest in the intersection of religion and popular culture.—Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780664232078
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2010
  • Series: Gospel According To... Series
  • Pages: 218
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Michael J. Gilmour is Associate Professor of New Testament and English Literature at Providence College in Manitoba, Canada. He is the author of Gods and Guitars: Seeking the Sacred in Post-1960s Popular Music and editor of Call Me the Seeker: Listening to Religion in Popular Music.
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