Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A05. Rock of Ages: Images of Jesus in Popular Music

How is Jesus imagined by death metal bands? By country singers? By Kanye West, Bob Dylan, or Bono? More than a character in the Bible, Jesus is a complex cultural figure who is constantly re-imagined in contemporary society, including—often controversially—by popular musicians. As Jesus still lives as a spiritual figure in the lives of Christians, so he also still lives as a cultural icon in contemporary American society. In this course, students will learn to use the interpretation of the historical, social, economic, and aesthetic components of popular music as a way of answering the same kinds of questions about Jesus that religious scholars and theologians have been asking for two thousand years: Who is Jesus? What is his message? What can he teach us? In addition to honing their writing and research skills, students will learn critical techniques specific to the musical, lyrical, and visual components of popular songs. No prior musical experience is necessary.

Delvyn CaseDelvyn Case
Assistant Professor of Music and Music Director of The Great Woods Chamber Orchestra