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The Lyre of OrpheusPopular Music, the Sacred, and the Profane$
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Christopher Partridge

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199751396

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199751396.001.0001

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(p.195) 5 Religion
The Lyre of Orpheus

Christopher Partridge

Oxford University Press

Historically, music as an affective technology and as a source of social cohesion has played a significant role in religious ritual. However, its power to manipulate emotion makes it not only peculiarly conducive to the cultivation of a sense of the otherworldly in religious contexts, but also peculiarly suspect as a force of profanation. Drawing on theological typologies of Christianity’s relationship to culture, this chapter examines a number of issues relating to popular music’s relationship with religion, including the opposition of religion to popular music and the deification of celebrity. The aim, as in the previous chapters, is to examine the significance of constructions of the sacred and the profane.

Keywords:   Christianity, religion, profanation, ritual, celebrity

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