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Rutgers Contemplates The Gospel of Bruce Springsteen

Professor's Book Talk Examines Common Threads of "The Boss and The Bible"
Azzan Yadin-Israel
Azzan Yadin-Israel, author of "The Grace of God and the Grace of Man": The Theologies of Bruce Springsteen Mary Laurano

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University Professor Azzan Yadin-Israel will discuss the poetry and song lyrics written by modern music legend Bruce Springsteen, and the connections and similarities they have with ancient biblical stories and scripture.

Yadin-Israel has written in depth about the subject in his book, "The Grace of God and the Grace of Man: The Theologies of Bruce Springsteen," and he will speak about it as part of the AuthorTalks series from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 29 at the Alexander Library.

The Alexander Library is located at 169 College Avenue: 

The author will take questions after his talk, and will sign copies of his book which will  be available for purchase courtesy of the Rutgers Barnes & Noble.

According to the Rutgers University Libraries website, The Rutgers Office of Summer & Winter Sessions will sponsor a drawing for 10 free copies. 

Yadin-Israel's work has been profiled in Rolling Stone, Washington Post, and Billboard Magazine, and he is renowned for teaching "Bruce Springsteen's Theology," a Rutgers course on the religious nature of Springsteen's lyrics.

The course analyzed lyrics from the colossal catalog of Springsteen's material, going all the way back to his debut album, "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J."

A Professor of Jewish Studies, Yadin-Isreal's courses generally cover such topics as classical Jewish philosophy and The Dead Sea Scrolls.

Upon closer inspection, he found many parallels with the songs and stories on Bruce Springsteen's albums, and spoke of the unique subject matter in a 2016 interview with Rutgers Today:

I’d done some preliminary work to ascertain there was definitely material there,” he said. “In the process of teaching the seminar, it became clear to me that I had failed to recognize the complexity of these issues and the unconventional ways in which Springsteen was using these biblical motifs...

In some songs, Springsteen engages biblical motifs explicitly, as the titles indicate. For example, “Adam Raised a Cain,” “Jesus was an Only Son,” “In the Belly of the Whale” (referring to Jonah). But concepts with biblical resonance appear throughout his works (the Promised Land, redemption, faith), and it’s just a matter of taking the theological overtones seriously.

The event is free and open to the public, and free parking (for non-university guests only) is available in Rutgers Lots 26 and 30, as well as the College Avenue Parking Deck next to the library.