Music and Religious Change among Progressive Jews in London

Being Liberal and Doing Traditional

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Ruth Illman
  • Lanham, MD: 
    Lexington Books
    , September
     182 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


This book analyses religion and change in relation to music within the context of contemporary progressive Judaism. It argues that music plays a central role as a driving force for religious change, comprising several elements seen as central to contemporary religiosity in general: participation, embodiment, experience, emotions and creativity. Focusing on the progressive Anglo-Jewish milieu today, the study investigates how responses to these processes of change are negotiated individually and collectively and what role is allotted to music in this context. Building on ethnographic research conducted at Leo Baeck College in London (2014–2016), it maps how theologically unsystematic life-views take form through everyday musical practices related to institutional religion, identifying three theoretically relevant processes at work: the reflexive turn, the turn within and the turn to tradition.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Ruth Illman is Associate Professor of Comparative Religion at Åbo Akademi University, Finland, and History of Religions at Uppsala University, Sweden. She is currently the Director of the Donner Institute for Research in Religion and Culture in Turku, Finland.


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