For all college freshmen with an insatiable auditory craving for Bruce Springsteen, New Jersey’s Rutgers University might just be the dream school, where you can listen The Boss in class while getting a grade for it. The university has revealed that it will be offering a semester-long, freshman seminar on Springsteen, which will be led by professor Azzan Yadin-Israel, a Jewish studies and classics specialist. The class will focus on the religious influence on Springsteen’s work, and the syllabus will span the entire discography.
Rutgers’ official news release explains the rationale behind the decision to include a theological course on Springsteen’s work:
“Interestingly, Springsteen refers more often to the stories of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) than the New Testament. On a literary level, Springsteen often recasts biblical figures and stories into the American landscape. The narrator of “Adam Raised a Cain” describes his strained relationship with his father through the prism of the biblical story of the first father and son; Apocalyptic storms accompany a boy’s tortured transition into manhood in “The Promised Land,” and the first responders of 9/11 rise up to “someplace higher” in the flames, much as Elijah the prophet ascended in a chariot of fire (“Into the Fire”). Theologically, I would say the most dominant motifs are redemption — crossing the desert and entering the Promised Land — and the sanctity of the everyday.”
This is not the first time a university has offered a course focused on the New Jersey rocker. Princeton University has offered its sociology course “Bruce Springsteen’s America” in the past, and Monmouth University in New Jersey has previously offered symposiums focused on Springsteen. Even University of Rochester, in rival state New York, has offered a history course on Bruce, with enough pictures on the syllabus to prove the professor’s undying love for the man behind “Born To Run”.
–Matthew Levine, Radio.com