Friday, December 30, 2016

Promoting The Song in the Night

Pastor Christopher Page writes: "Bob MacDonald brings to the song of the Scriptures a meticulous attention to detail, an eye for imagery and symbol, and a heart for the feel and tone of the text … He enlivens the story with beauty and faith that is evident on every page."

And Professor Susan Gillingham writes: "This is a very interesting, user-friendly publication! I initially opened it in my IPhone but found myself reading it with great interest, not least because Bob explains difficult issues so clearly."

The author (that's me) comments: This is a book that will appeal both to the faithful and to the scholarly, and to the faithful scholar searching out and developing the obedience of the faith into which we have been delivered and in which we live.

But you’re teaching me music and I don’t sing. You will be surprised what even the unheard music can teach you.

But it’s the Old Testament! And just what is that? It represents the tradition in which Jesus himself learned. How better should one who follows Him learn His faithfulness? 

And for those to whom the story is the Law, the Prophets and the Writings, the Tanach, this song will join your faith to your music as never before. It includes a detailed comparison of traditional Haftarah cantillation with the song as interpreted with a different key, perhaps even the one that was taught to the Levitical singers.

OK – give me an example. Psalm 117 is arranged here. And here is an introduction to the theory by the author. The background music in the opening slide is from Genesis 1.

Professor James McGrath writes concerning the book: "something MacDonald does … is, to my knowledge, unprecedented. By recognizing that these are performance markings, we can tell that certain passages in the Hebrew Bible were performed in the same way, using comparable melodic lines. And so we have here very old evidence of how cantors viewed texts as related to one another, and depicted that relationship through the very act of melodic recitation."

Professor McGrath has identified a key stimulus for the book: the author wanted to recognize the nature of the text as a song for us so we can learn to ask it the right questions. The music gives a dramatic new feel to familiar stories, instruction, and poetry from the Old Testament.


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