New Book: Wagner's Parsifal: An Appreciation in the Light of His Theological Journey

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 3 October 2014 | 6:32:00 pm

Expect a review in the next few months.

Wagner’s Parsifal
An Appreciation in the Light of His Theological Journey
By Richard H. Bell


SBN 10:
ISBN 13: 978-1-62032-885-9
Pages: 400
Binding: Paperback/Ebook
Publication Date: 11/12/2013
Street Date: 11/12/2013
Division: Cascade Books
Series: Veritas

Book Description

Parsifal, Wagner's final opera, is considered by many to be one of the greatest religious musical works ever composed; but it is also one of the most difficult to understand and many have questioned whether it can be considered a "Christian" work at all. Added to this is the furious debate that has surrounded the composer as an anti-Semite, racist, and inspiration for Hitler. Richard Bell addresses such issues and argues that despite any personal failings Wagner makes a fundamental theological contribution through his many writings and ultimately in Parsifal which, he argues, preaches Christ crucified in a way that can never be captured by words alone. He argues that Wagner offers a vision of the divine and a "theology of Good Friday" that can both function as profound therapy and address current theological controversies.


Reviews:

"It is impossible to overstate the profundity, insight, and illumination of this extraordinary study. Richard Bell combines his detailed knowledge of Wagner's music and writings with his professional expertise as theologian to offer a series of theological reflections on the composer's last masterpiece, culminating in a view of its revelatory nature. The book represents a major contribution to Wagner studies and is simply a must for all lovers of the composer."
—Robert Pascall, Honorary Professor of Music Philology, University of Cambridge.

"Richard Bell has done Wagner scholarship an enduring service. Wagner's theology is an aspect of the composer's intellectual universe that is seldom even acknowledged, let alone researched or understood; yet as Professor Bell demonstrates beyond any doubt, it is crucial to an understanding of Parsifal. . . . Bell is an eloquent and sure-footed guide through the labyrinth of theological and philosophical discourses that nourished Wagner's final opera."
—Roger Allen, Fellow and Tutor in Music and Dean of St Peter's College, Oxford

"Whoever may be interested in Richard Wagner's music will appreciate this book, full of biographical, historical, philosophical, and musicological background information on the origins of his final stage work, Parsifal. But for a theologian interested in Wagner . . . this book can be an eye-opener. It demonstrates convincingly how many of Wagner's literary motifs and musical/dramatic ideas have been deeply rooted in biblical tradition and Christian faith."
—Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr, Professor for New Testament Studies, University of Jena, Germany