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Was Bach Jewish?

Bach was quintessentially Jewish. And in seeking to break free from these laws, Beethoven was the true Christian. Might the gulf between Bach and Beethoven mirror that between Judaism and Christianity?

By Norman Podhoretz   December 1999

I once shocked a devout Lutheran friend by telling him that Johann Sebastian Bach was really Jewish. I knew perfectly well, of course, that Bach had been a Lutheran-indeed, the greatest glory of that Christian denomination- and I was mainly being provocative. Then I added that, compared with Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven was the true Christian. Here again I knew that Beethoven, although a Catholic and capable of composing the Missa Solemnis, had not been so deep a believer as Bach. Yet I was being at least half-serious in assigning Bach to Judaism and Beethoven to Christianity.

A similar thought…

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