The Lutheran doctrine of the Holy Spirit and its influence on Johann Sebastian Bach
Interdisciplinair proefschrift historische theologie en muziekwetenschap
defended on November 6, 2012 at Utrecht University
(supervisor: Prof. Dr. A.A. Clement)
(promotor: Prof. Dr. A.A. Clement)
Price: € 30.00 (except shipping costs)
IN DUTCH (English version in preparation)
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Johann Sebastian composed oratorios for virtually all the Christian feasts: there is a Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) for Christmas, New Year’s Day and Epiphany, a St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and a St. John Passion (BWV 245) for Good Friday, an Easter Oratorio (BWV 249) for Easter Day and an Ascension Oratorio (BWV 11) for Ascension Day. A remarkable omission here is Pentecost, the feast of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the followers of Christ. Parallel to this is the scant attention given to the place of the Person and the work of the Holy Spirit in the works of Bach in Bach scholarship.
This book deals with the pneumatology (the doctrine of the Holy Spirit) in 16th to 18th century Lutheranism and studies its influence on Bach. The notional tarting point was the assumption that a deeper insight in the Lutheran confession concerning the Person and the work of the Holy Spirit up to Bach’s days could lead to a better understanding of Bach’s compositions about the Holy Spirit. The book demonstrates that 16th to 18th century Lutheranism, apart from confessing the Holy Spirit as God, attributed to the Spirit the roles of Sanctifier, Teacher, Comforter and Recaller. These roles are explained from the theological literature in Bach’s personal library (among other books, his Calov-Bible) and studied in the Kyrie II and the aria ‘Et in Spiritum Sanctum’ from the B Minor Mass (BWV 232), the cantata Widerstehe doch der Sünde (BWV 54), the chorale motet ‘Wenn aber jener, der Geist der Wahrheit, kommen wird’ from the cantata Es ist euch gut, daß ich hingehe (BWV 108) and the motet Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf (BWV 226).