Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A17. Rock of Ages: Images of Jesus in Popular Music

Jesus Christ is not just a spiritual figure for religious people. Artists like Bob Dylan, Bono, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Chance the Rapper, and Coldplay have all written songs in which Jesus appears as character. In this class, we will develop an understanding of how Jesus has been constantly reimagined by artists of all types over the past 2000 years, exploring the ways that the political, social, and cultural agendas have led to complex, provocative, and even controversial portrayal of him. We will study the history and cultural contexts of a wide variety of musical genres in order to explore questions like: Who is Jesus? What is his message? What can he teach us? Why is he presented this way? Why does it matter? In addition to developing writing and research skills, students will learn how to analyze the lyrics, music, and visual components of popular songs. No prior musical or religious experience is necessary.

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