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Music and Blasphemy : Sympathy With the Devil (Hardcover) (Sylvia Watts)

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Music has always had links with the supernatural in all its forms, and is therefore often an important part of religious practice. However, it can also function as part of sacrilegious acts. This book asks whether music can be inherently blasphemous. Not only alongside religiously offensive images and words, but on its own terms.

The book begins with the different ways in which we represent the world and how music combines these to undermine our established categories of definition. It also examines the roots of blasphemy as a concept and its links with the bans on images that have occurred in several varieties of religion. In the final part of the book Watts argues that as a result of developing technology and the amount of noise, in every sense, that it produces, there is an increased danger of control by forces we do not understand. However, this technology also allows new sounds to be heard, becoming the catalyst for change. Thus, the Devil’s music can in fact become a force for good.

Using a variety of theorists from Žižek, Adorno and Attali to Hegarty, Reynolds and Toop, this book has devloped a new way of looking at the religious significance of music itself. As such, it will be fascinating reading for academics and students with an interest in Religious Studies, Music, Philosophy and Cultural Studies.

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