Music Professor Michael Marissen Examines Handel's Messiah as Part of Backlash Against Jews

Alisa Giardinelli

Music Professor Michael Marissen Examines
Handel's Messiah as Part of Backlash Against Jews

The singing of Handel's Messiah is a popular staple of the Christmas season. In the current Bulletin, Daniel Underhill Professor of Music Michael Marissen  offers what the New York Times called an "unsettling history of that joyous 'hallelujah.'"

 

Marissen writes:

"'Music lovers may be surprised to learn that George Frideric Handel's Messiah was meant not for Christmas but for Lent, and that the 'Hallelujah' chorus was designed not to honor the birth or resurrection of Jesus but to celebrate the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 CE."   more

A profile of Michael Marissen, an internationally acclaimed Bach scholar who joined Swarthmore's faculty in 1989, appeared in the magazine's September 2003 issue.