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Tainted Glory in Handel's Messiah – The Unsettling History of the World's Most Beloved Choral Work - Yale Scholarship Online
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Tainted Glory in Handel's Messiah: The Unsettling History of the World's Most Beloved Choral Work

Michael Marissen


Across North America, “Messiah Sing-Ins”—performances of Handel's oratorio with the audience joining in the choruses—are a musical and social highlight of the winter holiday season. Christians, Jews, and others come together to delight in one of the consummate masterpieces of Western music. Little do they know that Handel and his librettist Charles Jennens's work, compiled and adapted from various passages in the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, appears to have been designed, in part, to rejoice over God's purported punishment of Judaism for its failure to accept Jesus as the Me ... More

Keywords: anti-Judaism, anti-Semitism, Book of Common Prayer, Handel, Jennens, King James Bible, Messiah, triumphalism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780300194586
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2014 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300194586.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael Marissen, author