Music and Culture

All music is a product of culture, past or present, and . . . previous historical cultures were as deeply flawed as our modern Western one. Even the Israelite culture that produced the Psalms, the ultimate book of praise songs and the only one to achieve canonical status (something even Bach and Isaac Watts have failed to do), was constantly corrupted by syncretism, apostasy and sin. . . . The tendency to use what is familiar and popular—the musical vernacular—and sanctify it for holy purposes, has powerful precedents throughout church history.

–Mary L. Conway, “Worship Music: Maintaining Dynamic Tension,” McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry 7 (2006): 150-51  www.mcmaster.ca/mjtm/pdfs/vol7/MJTM_7-7_Conway.pdf

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