Rutgers Plans Bruce Springsteen Theology Class

Freshman seminar will examine 40 years of singer's lyrics

Bruce Springsteen performs in New York City.
Jemal Countess/Getty Images
Bruce Springsteen performs in New York City.
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Anyone who has listened to much Bruce Springsteen has surely noticed the singer's fondness for Biblical allusions in his lyrics, now Rutgers University is making a study of them.

The college in New Brunswick, New Jersey, will be offering a freshman seminar examining the theology of Springsteen, according to a Q&A on the Rutgers Today PR site with Azzan Yadin-Israel, the course professor. The class will cover Springsteen's entire discography, from 1973's Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. to last year's Wrecking Ball.

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"Theologically, I would say the most dominant motifs are redemption – crossing the desert and entering the Promised Land – and the sanctity of the everyday," Yadin-Israel said. "Springsteen tries to drag the power of religious symbols that are usually relegated to some transcendent reality into our lived world. In his later albums he also writes very openly about faith."

Yadin-Israel, an associate professor of Jewish studies and classics, usually teaches on early rabbinic literature, but has been a Springsteen fan since he was in middle school.

Other colleges have offered Springsteen-based courses in the past, Time magazine notes, including a sociology class at Princeton and a history course at the University of Rochester on Springsteen and the working class experience in America.

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