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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Psalms and Music: Influences of the Psalms on Western Music
Stern, Max

Brooklyn: Ktav, 2013 pp. 450. $69.50

Description: Psalms have been set to music more than any other biblical texts. Their embodiment in music is the veritable bedrock upon which was erected the edifice of Western music. In all eras, whether chanted, sung, or declaimed in elaborate settings for choirs and instruments - never faraway lurked images of King David the psalmist, Temple service, sacred singers, pilgrims, and angels engaged in acts of Divine adoration. Psalms & Music examines the reciprocal influences of Psalms on music and music on Psalms in a broad range of styles and contexts, historic genres, and contemporary idioms ranging from worship to entertainment, liturgical devotions to public performances. These include: chants, motets, cantatas, art music of all dimensions, folk and popular songs, and even rock music. An extensive bibliographic appendix listing thousands of settings, psalm by psalm, is a key feature of the book. This study complements and completes the author's previous volume, Bible & Music.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Writings, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Psalms, History of Interpretation

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Review by James F. McGrath
Published 2/9/2017
Citation: James F. McGrath, review of Max Stern, Psalms and Music: Influences of the Psalms on Western Music , Review of Biblical Literature [] (2017).

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