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Tainted Glory in Handel's MessiahThe Unsettling History of the World's Most Beloved Choral Work$
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Michael Marissen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300194586

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300194586.001.0001

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Rejoicing against Judaism in Handel's Messiah

Rejoicing against Judaism in Handel's Messiah

(p.13) II Rejoicing against Judaism in Handel's Messiah
Tainted Glory in Handel's Messiah

Michael Marissen

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the general approach and concerns of Charles Jennens in compiling and adapting his biblical texts for the libretto of Handel's Messiah. Biblical typology and prophecy-and-fulfilment are central. Special attention is paid to the core of Messiah's schadenfreude toward Judaism with its juxtaposition of violent texts from the Psalms and the Book of Revelation. Comparative religious polemic—anti-Catholicism and anti-Islam—in the works of Jennens and Handel are also investigated. Handel's music is shown throughout to underscore, and even at times to heighten, Jennens's verbal invective.

Keywords:   anti-Catholicism, anti-Islam, anti-Judaism, prophecy, typology

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