I was excited to write this book for many reasons, including the opportunity it provided to connect my long-standing love of music with my work as an educator and researcher in biblical studies. The technology of e-books and online music streaming is another. We live in a time when so much music is readily available. Whereas in the past it would have been necessary to have a print book with a CD in a sleeve in the back, now music can be included directly within the book. I hope that readers’ and listeners’ enjoyment of both text and music will be enriched by this format. Many of us have long hoped for the day when it would be possible to have music included seamlessly alongside text that introduces, explains, and comments on it. The book also seeks to take advantage of the online format by including hyperlinks to additional information about composers, biblical texts, terminology, and other such matters. Where information is crucial to the reader, as a rule it has been included within the book itself. Nevertheless, some readers may undoubtedly come to this text knowing a great deal about the Bible, music, or both, while the same will not be true for others. Some will already know many things but still be eager to learn more. Every book will inevitably contain references to people with whom some readers are not familiar or use words that some readers have not encountered before. The online format puts the information that readers of print books would have to Google or look up just an easy click away. Hopefully for those utilizing the book in other formats, the presence of added features for online readers will in no way detract from or interfere with the use and enjoyment of the book simply as text without embedded and linked content.
Among others, I wish to thank Bonnie Somers and her colleagues at the Milken Archive of Jewish Music, Bruce Adolphe, Tamás Beischer-Matyó, Victoria Bond, Delvyn Case, Andrea Clearfield, Catherine Duce, Frank Felice, James Lee III, Honji Song, Eric Stark, Pēteris Vasks, Gundega Vaska, and Amy-Jill Levine (whose amazingly detailed feedback on a draft of the book led to many improvements, even though it still has many shortcomings). These stand alongside countless others I undoubtedly ought to have mentioned and have neglected to but who nonetheless provided suggestions about musical works to mention. I am grateful to, and mention in this collective fashion, the students in the course I teach at Butler University on the subject of the Bible and music. In addition to providing feedback on drafts of this textbook as I tried it out as the assigned reading and listening for that class, each semester they have introduced me to new music, some of which has been incorporated into this book and subsequent iterations of the course.