Something Different from EABS
John Lyons' EABS seminar The Biblical World and its Reception has a sub-theme on music (more precisely pop, rock etc.) this August and I believe he'll have all the details in due course. Here's my abstract and I suppose it is pretty much unlike anything I've done before in the world of academic biblical studies.
Black Monks or Hip Priests? Using Biblical and Religious Language in the Manchester Alternative Music Scene, 1977-1994
The city of Manchester between the late 1970s and the early 1990s is frequently regarded as a major UK centre for alternative music, boasting bands such as The Fall, Buzzcocks, Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, 808 State, Happy Mondays, and Stone Roses, the record label Factory Records, charismatic figures such as Tony Wilson, a major club in The Hacienda, and prominent figures in influential music scenes such as post-punk and acid/rave. While there is increasing intellectual attention paid to this place and period in the history of popular music, it is rarely noted that there was a constant and creative use of the Bible, biblical texts, and religious imagery throughout. Moreover, this use of Bible and religion is notably different between the late 1970s and early 1990s, from being used in the name of dark introspection, cynical observation, nihilism and pessimism to being used in the name of self-congratulation, self-importance and (largely misguided) optimism. This paper will look at the different and diverse reasons for this stark shift by looking at, for instance, the dominant personalities, musical experimentation and trends, changes in drug use, the influence of Thatcherism, the increasing lure of mainstream popular culture, and the changing cityscape of Manchester.
I'll post my SBL Boston abstract soon whether you care or not. That won't be on music but it too will be a bit different from previous stuff. Heavily tied in with next book, Jesus in an Age of Terror.