Introducing the Bruce Springsteen Theology Course

Rutgers University to offer the class

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 13, 2013 12:08 AM CST

(Newser) – Here's a college class that actually exists: a theology course studying ... the songs of Bruce Springsteen. Rutgers University will offer the class, the Guardian reports. It seems the Boss' lyrics often include religious references, mostly from the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament to Christians), though he was raised Catholic. Redemption is a common theme and "Mary" a common name for women who appear in his songs. "On a literary level, Springsteen often recasts biblical figures and stories into the American landscape," the professor of the course tells Rutgers Today. He offers some examples:

  • "The narrator of 'Adam Raised a Cain' describes his strained relationship with his father through the prism of the biblical story of the first father and son."
  • "Apocalyptic storms accompany a boy's tortured transition into manhood in 'The Promised Land.'"
  • "The first responders of 9/11 rise up to 'someplace higher' in the flames, much as Elijah the prophet ascended in a chariot of fire ("Into the Fire")."
  • There are also "Jesus Was an Only Son" and "In the Belly of the Whale," a reference to the Jonah story.
Princeton also once offered a Springsteen-focused sociology course, Time reports.

Musician Bruce Springsteen performs at the Stand Up for Heroes event at Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, in New York.   (John Minchillo/Invision/AP)
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