Music in the Hebrew Bible

Understanding References in the Torah, Nevi’im and Ketuvim

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About the Book

Music in the Hebrew Bible investigates musical citations in the Hebrew Bible and their relevance for our times. Most biblical musical references are addressed, either alone or as a grouping, and each is considered from a modern perspective. The book consists of one hundred brief essays divided into four parts. Part one offers general overviews of musical contexts, recurring musical-biblical themes and discussions of basic attitudes and tendencies of the biblical authors and their society. Part two presents essays uncovering what the Torah (Pentateuch) has to say about music, both literally and allegorically. The third part includes studies on music’s place in Nevi’im (Prophets) and the perceived link between musical expression and human-divine contact. Part four is comprised of essays on musical subjects derived from the disparate texts of Ketuvim (Writings).

About the Author(s)

Jonathan L. Friedmann is a professor of Jewish music history at the Academy for Jewish Religion California, extraordinary professor of theology at North-West University (NWU), South Africa, and a research fellow at NWU in musical arts in South Africa: resources and applications. He is the author, editor, or compiler of 19 books on music and religion. Visit his website at jonathanfriedmann.com.

Bibliographic Details

Jonathan L. Friedmann
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7773-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1439-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction 7

Part One: Background

 1. Music All Around 17

 2. A Silent Source 18

 3. The Ethos of Song 20

 4. Instruction and Inspiration 21

 5. Institutions of Song 23

 6. A Human Need 25

 7. Ceremonial Tones 26

 8. Vessels of Song 28

 9. Is It Music? 29

10. Dancing into Being 31

11. The Purposes of Cantillation 33

12. Chant and Revelation 34

13. Not Music Alone 36

14. Songs and Sacrifice 37

15. Necessary Songs 39

16. Words and Music 41

17. A Musical Heart 42

18. Singing About Singing 44

19. The Divine Musician 45

20. Work Songs 46

21. ­Proto-­Cantors 48

22. New Year’s Noise 50

23. The Human Family 51

24. Dancing with Torches 53

25. Defending the Organ 55

Part Two: Torah—Pentateuch

26. All the Music of the Torah 59

27. Ordered Sound 60

28. Words, Words, Words 61

29. Singing Souls 63

30. Melodic Beginnings 65

31. A Musical Species 66

32. Musical Departures 68

33. God of the Philosophers 70

34. The Invisible Art 71

35. Inventing Hymns 73

36. A Musical ­Back-­and-­Forth 75

37. Effect and Belief 77

38. Miriam’s Song 79

39. Singing the Self 81

40. Music and Iconoclasm 82

41. Song of the Calf 84

42. Keeping Shabbat 85

43. Noisy Vestments 87

44. Distinguishing Sounds 88

45. How Goodly 90

46. Hearing the Holy 91

47. From Stutter to Song 93

48. Sabbath Peace 94

49. Table Songs 96

Part Three: Nevi’im—Prophets

50. Bad Vibrations 101

51. Terrifying Tones 103

52. Dancing with Timbrels 104

53. Fanfares 106

54. Music, Magic and Manipulation 107

55. Music Hidden and Revealed 108

56. Beauty and Function 110

57. Sacred Perception 111

58. Simulating Silence 112

59. Composing Legends 115

60. Performing Poetry 116

61. The Silent Treatment 118

62. Collective Healing 119

63. Surprising Sounds 121

64. Musical Prophets 123

65. Music as Rhetoric 125

66. Parties and Piety 126

Part Four: Ketuvim—Writings

67. The Significance of Song 131

68. Temple Sounds 132

69. The Myth of Musical Purity 134

70. Persuasive Tones 136

71. Textual Tension 138

72. Everybody Sings 139

73. Theurgy and Concentration 140

74. ­Public-­Private ­Prayer-­Song 142

75. Psalms of Thanksgiving 144

76. The Thanksgiving Impulse 145

77. Musical Maccabees 147

78. A Musical Remedy 148

79. Selah 150

80. A Virtuoso in the Temple Choir 152

81. Enter in Song 153

82. Tuneful Bones 154

83. Loving Love Songs 156

84. Instrument of Joy 158

85. Songs in High Places 160

 86. Particular and Universal 161

 87. Musical Awakening 163

 88. Liturgy and Leftovers 164

 89. Hallelujah 166

 90. Fear the Music 167

 91. Sound and Circumstance 170

 92. Sonorous Revelation 171

 93. Survival and the Song of Songs 173

 94. Sing an Old Song 175

 95. Ritual Reenactmant 177

 96. Sound Science 179

 97. A Singing Community 180

 98. Ear of the Beholder 181

 99. In Song and War 183

100. Songs of Derision 184

Appendix: Resources in Jewish Musicology 187

Bibliography 197

Index 201