Music 345A and St. Olaf College

As I mentioned in my last blog post, this class humbled me greatly. I have read articles that opened my eyes to brilliant new topics, discussed issues that challenged and expanded my understanding of music and theology, and have had my Lutheran background questioned and affirmed. Though I usually found myself listening more often than speaking, it was almost impossible to not be engaged during class discussions.

Looking back to the topics we discussed in class, one thing that will stick with me is our analysis of Homoerotics in the music of Hildegard von Bingen. It’s nice to see my gender represented in the humanities every once in a while; even though there are few records of female theologians before the 20th century (and I recognize this makes it difficult to study female theologians prior to this), I enjoy reading about their contributions to society during their lifetime.

Moving forward, this class has boosted my excited for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, even though I was already excited about this, given my Lutheran heritage. Martin Luther’s radicalism has shaped much of what I believe today; I was confirmed in the Lutheran church, I know the Lutheran Catechism, and I’ve read the Lutheran Handbook cover to cover multiple times (the latter is not a historical document by any stretch of the imagination, but it is an amusing read – 10/10 would recommend). In learning more about Luther’s theology and thoughts on music, I was able to see myself in the context of the class. Luther is part of my culture and heritage. The Doctrine of Justification not only makes sense to me, but it’s part of what I was raised to believe.

Even at St. Olaf, the most Lutheran of Lutheran institutions, we rarely discuss the theological basis on which our school was founded. This course is important for St. Olaf because this class represents our school’s roots. Even more so, this class represents St. Olaf as a whole because this class was not just about Luther; we explored other cultures and religions and musical practices. Similarly, St. Olaf is not just for Lutheranism; it’s for a whole bunch of different people with different cultures and music. St. Olaf is the epitome of Music 345A.

Leave a Reply