Sacred SongIn a wide-ranging interfaith essay at The Conversation, David Stowe, professor of English and Religion at Michigan State University, discusses the role of music in religion.

He begins by noting the Jewish feast called “The Sabbath of Singing.”

This Saturday, Feb. 11, many Jews will celebrate Shabbat Shirah, the Sabbath of Singing, which commemorates one of the most vivid musical performances in the Hebrew Bible: the songs sung by Moses and his sister Miriam to celebrate the Israelite crossing of the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea) in their dramatic escape from bondage in Egypt.

This Song of Miriam exemplifies one dominant motivation for sacred music: collective celebration.

He goes on to discuss praise, thanksgiving, sorrow and lament, “collective effervescence,” trance, protest, secular spirituals, and more.

You can read the whole thing here.

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