THEOLOGY AND MUSIC
There has always been a close association between theology and music. A theological drama, such as Calvin’s Geneva Liturgy, would be barren without the musical settings of the Psalms provided by Louis Bourgeois. A social expression of faith such as the civil rights movement of the 1960s would have been greatly diminished without the hymn “We Shall Overcome.” Karl Barth’s theological endeavors, culminating in twelve massive volumes of Church Dogmatics, would, by his own testimony, have been arid had he not begun each day listening to Mozart while he shaved. No theological statement of divine ineffability can begin to compare with the wonder and mystery communicated in Beethoven’s last string quarters, particularly the Cavatina in Opus 130 and the opening fugue in Opus 131. If we wish to enter into the spirit of medieval faith, we had better not only read St. Thomas’ 24-volume Summa but also listen to (or, better yet, sing ourselves) St. Francis’ “Canticle of the Sun.” Robert…
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