College students devoted to Bruce Springsteen, rock star and New Jersey native, can now take a theology class on “The Boss” at Rutgers University — a legitimate way to listen to music all day and still graduate on time.
The semester-long, freshman seminar covers his first album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. (released 40 years ago this year) through Wrecking Ball (2012), the professor, Azzan Yadin-Israel, a Jewish studies and classics specialist, said in a news release:
Interestingly, Springsteen refers more often to the stories of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) than the New Testament. On a literary level, Springsteen often recasts biblical figures and stories into the American landscape. The narrator of “Adam Raised a Cain” describes his strained relationship with his father through the prism of the biblical story of the first father and son; Apocalyptic storms accompany a boy’s tortured transition into manhood in “The Promised Land,” and the first responders of 9/11 rise up to “someplace higher” in the flames, much as Elijah the prophet ascended in a chariot of fire (“Into the Fire”). Theologically, I would say the most dominant motifs are redemption — crossing the desert and entering the Promised Land — and the sanctity of the everyday.
Rutgers is not the first N.J. college to offer a class on the musician’s “glory days”: Princeton University has offered a sociology course on “Bruce Springsteen’s America”, while Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J. has hosted at least three symposiums on the rock star’s legacy. And when the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., offered a history course on the musician, it loaded its syllabus with portraits.
No word on whether the Rutgers seminar will feature guest lectures from The Boss himself or his super fan Chris Christie.