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Bob Dylan: A Religious Perspective

Duke's Shalom Goldman will discuss the influence of religion on Bob Dylan's life and music

Bob Dylan's life and music -- and their connections to religion and American culture -- will be the subject of a talk Thursday, Oct. 3 by Shalom Goldman, a Duke professor of religion.

Goldman will discuss ways religion affected Dylan and influenced his music. The free, public event will be at 7 p.m. in Goodson Chapel in Duke's Divinity School. Folk singer Lisa Deaton and the Divinity School's faculty band will perform as well.

Deaton accompanied Goldman a year ago when the pair teamed up for a similar discussion of Johnny Cash, his music and spirituality.

This time around, Goldman focuses on Dylan. Attendees may be surprised by the extent to which Dylan's music has entered the African-American church, Goldman said. And while Dylan's southern fans may know the connection between the songwriter and religion, those from elsewhere may not, Goldman added.

"His musical creativity and his personal life -- especially his 'conversion experience' of 1979-80, are linked both to the Judaism of his youth and to American Christianity in its many forms," said Goldman, whose academic work focuses on the ways major religions intersect. "This will be a narrative of Dylan's life and music, and a tribute of sorts to his more than 50 years of creativity."