Music & Life
John Ahern
Mar 11 - Mar 15
Easter Term

Instructor: John Ahern, PhD candidate in musicology, Princeton University

The problems that plague church music do not plague the church alone. These problems–fighting over musical style, a lack of enthusiasm, a dearth of well-composed new music, underfunding–all have their source in larger cultural trends which need to be addressed and understood.

On the one hand, music is woven into the natural order and into redemptive history. On the other hand, the time and place we inhabit makes it difficult for music to operate in these natural ways.

When we seek to worship faithfully with music in our own contexts, we are constantly thwarted by larger structural forces. We swim against the stream and it is tiring.

The focus of this intensive will be music and life–how God has created the world musically and how humans normatively live and behave with respect to music. This intensive will look at

  • the doctrine of music of the spheres, in Platonism, in the Bible, and in historic Christianity;
  • music in social, political and spiritual life before 1600;
  • the deleterious role Classical music and art music has played on church music;
  • the roles of various technologies in shaping worship music for good or ill.

Once we have a normal baseline for musical behavior, the church and her liturgical music can begin to act to redress these issues that plague our church music. We can be the source out from which the waters flow, so that a whole world of worshipers and singers can make answer: “All my fresh springs are in thee.”

This course will be held at Third Presbyterian Church, located at 617 22nd St S, Birmingham, AL 35233.

Theopolis Institute admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies or scholarship programs.

*This requirement was added in July 2016. For those who entered the Certificate Program earlier than that date, the oral examination is voluntary.

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