It might be a few decades late for some, but collegiate disciples of Bruce Springsteen will soon be able to enroll in a theology class devoted to the New Jersey legend. As Time reports, the state’s own Rutgers University, former home of Mario Batali, David Stern, and our own Sami Jarroush, is offering a semester-long, freshman seminar that will cover Springsteen’s entire discography. Professor Azzan Yadin-Israel, a Jewish studies and classics specialist, will lead the class.
Don’t believe us? Here’s the official news bulletin:
Interestingly, Springsteen refers more often to the stories of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) than the New Testament. On a literary level, Springsteen often recasts biblical figures and stories into the American landscape.
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,” and 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”).
Theologically, I would say the most dominant motifs are redemption — crossing the desert and entering the Promised Land — and the sanctity of the everyday.
Not surprisingly, Rutgers isn’t the first university to introduce The Boss into academia. Princeton’s sociology previously department offered “Bruce Springsteen’s America”; Monmouth University (also in Jersey) has listed “at least three symposiums” on Bruce; and the University of Rochester’s History Department waxed nostalgic for the singer, as well.
Basically, it’s okay to rock out to Darkness on the Edge of Town in class, folks.