Several of the great “founding fathers” of theory of religion discerned a deep connection between religion and music, particularly Western “classical” music. Our relatively recent acceptance that “religion” as universal category was an early modern European invention should prompt suspicion that this connection is historically specific. Yet while scholars in many disciplines have recognized the importance of music in Western imagination, modern scholars of religion have largely ignored it. This article surveys three important discussions of music and religion, in Rudolf Otto, Johan Huizinga, and Max Weber, to provide groundwork for rethinking an important, unanswered question. In conclusion, some preliminary remarks are made about reconstituting this question in contemporary theory, using a brief discussion of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring to suggest the potential value of treating Western music as a discourse of imagining religion.
PeretzIsabelleBellevilleSylvieFontaineSophieDissociations entre musique et langage après atteinte cérébrale: Un nouveau cas d’amusie sans aphasieCanadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale1997514354368
SchluchterWolfgangThe approach of Max Weber’s sociology of religion as exemplified in his study of ancient JudaismArchives de sciences sociales des religions2004491273356Max Weber La Religion et la Construction du Social