In last year’s Bible intro course, one of the essay options invited students to compare Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ to the biblical source texts (they also had other choices, in case ‘Hallelujah’ didn’t appeal to them). That was a runaway success for the course, but now I have the challenge of coming up with another comparable song for this coming autumn’s essay option.
Here are the restrictions: The song in question should be based on/comparable to an Old Testament text (students won’t have encountered the NT yet in the course; indeed, Pentateuch/Writings is even preferable to Prophets). It should not be a brain-dead easy comparison, and the song should be at least pretty good. It’ll be a better choice if it’s not an evangelistic appeal, though old-timey songs are probably theologically depotentiated for this audience. Multiple cover versions make it even better (lots of options, and more room for comparison); Robert Wilkins’ ‘Prodigal Son’, covered by the Rolling Stones, would be great except the class won’t be anywhere near Jesus’ parables by the time they have to write the essay.
What song(s) would you suggest?
All nominations, of course, are subject to my own pedagogical/aesthetic discernment. Remember, someone’s going to have to read as many as a hundred essays on this topic.