“The conversation between music and theology, dormant for too long in recent years, is at last gathering pace. And rightly so. There will always be theologians who will regard music as a somewhat peripheral concern, too trivial to trouble the serious scholar, and in any case almost impossible to engage because of its notorious resistance to words and concepts. But an increasing number are discovering again what many of our forbears realized centuries ago, that the kinship between this pervasive feature of human life and the search for a Christian ‘intelligence of faith’ is intimate and ineradicable.
Maeve Heaney’s ambitious, wide-ranging, and energetic book pushes the conversation further forward still. Her approach is unapologetically theological, grounded in the passions and concerns of mainstream doctrinal theology. And yet she is insisting . . . that music must be given its due place in the ecology of theology. Although convinced that music should not be set up as a rival to linguistic or conceptual articulation, let alone swallow up ‘traditional’ modes of theological language and thought, she is equally convinced that music is an irreducible means of coming to terms with the world, a unique vehicle of world-disclosure, and as such, can generate a particular form of ‘understanding’: ‘there are things which God may only be saying through music.’ If this is so, it is incumbent on the theologian to listen.”
–Jeremy Begbie, from the Foreword