The Sacred in Music

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Religion and music are complementary resources for interpreting our lives. Music serves the sacred in ways that can be specified and articulated; some believe it can help us appreciate God's greatness. Yet the connection has been neglected in the scholarly study of religion. The Sacred in Music brings the two subjects together in a celebration of the rich Western musical tradition, both classical and Christian. Albert Blackwell shows how appreciation of music can help interpret theological traditions with greater sensitivity to their insights and applications. He then presents a description of the concept of sacramental experience, and describes and explores two great Christian sacramental traditions, showing their regard for music as a gift from God -- who thus places the essence of the divine in human minds.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Religion and music are complimentary resources for affecting lives and appreciating God: this celebrates Western musical traditions both classical and Christian, drawing important connections between an appreciation for music and basic Christian traditions. An excellent survey evolves.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780664221713
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Albert L. Blackwell is the Reuben B. Pitts Professor Emeritus of Religion at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He is the founder of The Piedmont Resource Center, and received Furman's Meritorious Teaching Award in 1977. He also serves as director of the choir at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenville.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 7
Introduction 11
Basic Modalities and Methods
Basic Presuppositions and Predilections
Musical Predilections
Religious Predilections
Culture and Language
Analysis and Practice
I. Sacramental Traditions 25
Sacramental Encounter
Divine Eminence and Divine Immanence
Two Sacramental Traditions
The Pythagorean Tradition
The Incarnational Tradition
II. Creation: Transcending Contingency 49
The Pythagorean Tradition: Music's Sacramental Silence
Pythagorean Intervals
The Overtone Series
Division of the Diapason
Melody and Harmony
Musical Particularity and Universality
Religious Particularity and Universality
Beyond Contingency: Trusting Divine Logos
Music, Mathematics, and Transcendence
III. Creation: Manifesting Transcendence 91
The Incarnational Tradition: Music's Sacramental Sound
On Balancing the Pythagorean and Incarnational Traditions
Emotion and Meaning
Divine Artistry and Human Artistry
Mozart and Deconstruction
Mozart and Transcendence
Creativity as Covenant
IV. Fall: Enduring Time 125
From Harmony to Babel
Christian Ambivalence toward Music
Time's Terrible Beauty
Music's Dark Resources
Tonal Tension
Minor Modes
Music as Virtual Life
Music and Silence
Music and Noise
Music and Chaos
Music and Life's Pilgrimage
Sacred Music: Evaluation and Taste
Music and Theodicy
V. Salvation: Sustaining Harmony 159
Can Beauty Save Us?
Music and Goodness
Music and Truth
Music and Beauty
Idol, Distraction, Offering, or Grace?
Music's Power to Heal and to Harm
Cosmic Harmony
Harmony: Individual and Social
Social Sharing and Immediate Experience
Temperament: Musical and Communal
VI. Final Bliss: Surpassing Language 199
Hope for Harmony
Varieties of Mystical Experience
Outwardly and Inwardly Oriented Mysticisms
Meanings of Transcendence
Communion with Transcendence
Mysticisms of Knowledge and of Love
Musical Illustrations
Beyond Verbal Language
Music and Transcendence
Silence or Succour?
Music and the Numinous
A Sacramental Vessel
Music and Final Bliss
Codetta 233
Notes and References 235
Index of Biblical Passages 247
General Index 249
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