Spilt Religion

  • David BrownEmail author
  • Gavin Hopps


This chapter is concerned with the ways in which popular music—including secular and ‘post-secular’ works—may be able to elicit moments of epiphany and serve a positive religious purpose. It begins by outlining a methodology that steers a middle course between ‘immanent’ and ‘arbitrary’ models of musical meaning—by focusing on the notions of ‘affordance’ and ‘transitivity’—and evaluates the religious significance of works in a ‘post hoc’ manner, in light of the listening experience. The rest of the chapter illustrates the advantages of such an approach and considers a wide range of religious, secular and ‘post-secular’ examples, highlighting in particular a variety of musical and textual features that invite the listener’s imaginative engagement and may help to precipitate experiences of ‘general revelation.’ The chapter ends with a short Coda, which reflects on the value from a religious perspective of such moments of enchantment and wonder in music listening.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of St. AndrewsSt. AndrewsUK

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