Intellectuals often talk about various kinds of envy.
Radical scholars accuse neoclassical economists of physics envy. Freudians accuse young girls of penis envy. I accuse myself of music-envy. It is my ambition to write theology as a great classical music or jazz. It is to find the music in the theological. For instance, I hope that one day my theology will sound as good as Schubert’s Ave Maria
, Verdi’s Nabucco—Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves
, or Monk’s Blue Monk
. This hope exists not only because good theology is a sublime music to the divine and beautiful to read, but also because all good theologians are slaves to dead or obscure musicians. In an adaptation of the rhetorical flourish of John Maynard Keynes, let me say this: The ideas of theologians, both when they are right and when they wrong are derived from music, exquisite sensibility to beautiful, harmonious movements of sound and silence than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world of theology is ruled by little else. Non-music envy theologians, who believe their thoughts to be above any musical influences, are usually slaves to some obscure musician. Read the rest of this entry »