Bob Dylan’s poetry has its roots in the Bible

The music legend Bob Dylan, shown here at a 2012 music festival in France. (Photo: AFP)

Bob Dylan broke into the world of folk music in 1962 as a protest singer. Since these humble beginnings, the musician has evolved into a superstar, and undergone a series of changes, both musically and literally.

There was a huge uproar among fans, for example, when Dylan hung up his acoustic guitar to embrace electric instruments. But perhaps the most puzzling of his changes was inaugurated with the release of the LP “Slow Train Coming” in 1979, where the lyrics were imbued with a Christian message.

A year later, “Saved” came, which left no doubt that Dylan had become a born-again Christian, something that discouraged his more politically committed followers.

“But religion has played an important role for the poet throughout his life,” says Reidar Aasgaard, a professor in the history of ideas at the University of Oslo. Aasgaard teaches a course on Dylan and his music at the university.

Strong Jewish roots

Robert Allen Zimmerman, which was Dylan’s original name, was raised in a Jewish household. But the Minnesota community where he grew up was nonetheless Christian in character, Aasgaard says. This […]

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