1st Edition

The Music of Theology Language – Space – Silence

    192 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book reconceives theology as a musical endeavour in critical tension with language, space and silence. An Overture first moves us from music to religion, and then from theology back to music – a circularity that, drawing upon history, sociology, phenomenology, and philosophy, disclaims any theology of music and instead pursues the music in theology. The chapters that follow explore the three central themes by way of theory, music and myth: Adorno, Benjamin and Deleuze (language), Derrida, Rosa and Nancy (space), Schelling/Hegel, Homer and Cage (silence). In overdubbing each other, these chapters work towards theology as a sonorous rhythm between loss and freedom. A Coda provides three brief musical examples – Thomas Tallis, György Ligeti, and Evan Parker – as manifestations of this rhythm, to show in summary how music becomes the very pulse of theology, and theology the very intuition of music. The authors offer an interdisciplinary engagement addressing fundamental questions of the self and the other, of humanity and the divine, in a deconstruction of modern culture and of its bias towards the eye over the ear. The book harmonizes three scholarly voices who attempt to find where the resonance of our Western conceptions and practice, musically and theologically, might resound anew as a more expansive music of theology.


    1 The Language of Music: Losing Theology

    2 The Space of Music: The Self between Lost and Found

    3 Silence: Music as Strained Freedom




    Andrew W. Hass is Reader in Religion at the University of Stirling, Scotland. His research is situated at the intersection of Religion, Theology, Philosophy, and the Arts, with ongoing emphasis on Critical Theory and Hermeneutics. He is the author of many publications including Poetics of Critique: The Interdisciplinarity of Textuality (2003); Auden’s O: The Loss of One’s Sovereignty in the Making of Nothing (2013); and Hegel and the Art of Negation (2014).

    Laurens ten Kate is an Associate Professor in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an Endowed Professor of Liberal Religion and Humanism at the University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, the Netherlands. He has written widely on Religion including, Flight of the Gods: Philosophical Perspectives on Negative Theology; Re-treating Religion (2000) and Deconstructing Christianity with Jean-Luc Nancy (2012).

    Mattias Martinson is full Professor of Systematic Theology and Studies in Worldviews and Dean of the Faculty of Theology at Uppsala University, Sweden. His main research interests are cultural theology, atheism in theological perspective, critical theory and continental philosophy. He has published widely on these topics including the monograph Perseverance without Doctrine. Adorno, Self-critique and the Ends of Academic Theology (2000).