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Society of Biblical Literature / American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting

November 30 @ 8:00 am - December 10 @ 2:00 pm

**Due to COVID-19, this panel has been postponed to 2021**

2020 SBL/AAR Annual Meeting

Boston, Massachusetts

American Academy of Religion, Religion and Popular Culture Unit

Panel Proposal submitted by Lorenzo DiTommaso (Concordia University Montréal) and Colin McAllister (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs)


Title: Tonality, Time, and Text: Three Aspects of Apocalypticism in Music


This panel will present five papers exploring music ‘in the apocalyptic mode’ from the late Middle Ages to the present day, with a strong emphasis on the interplay between music and text. These papers are all drawn from our forthcoming volume Dies irae, dies illa: Music in the Apocalyptic Mode (Brill, Word and Music Studies), the first volume to examine the often profound dialogue between the musical and lyrical elements of a work. For over two millenia, but especially in the past forty years, an ever-increasing number of people across the globe have come to regard the world and their place in it through the lens of apocalypticism. This ‘apocalyptic shift’ is witnessed in mass/pop-culture films, novels, and other media, especially music. Apocalyptic music is the musical expression of the worldview, with interrelated lyrical, musicological, and (often) performative aspects. The apocalyptic worldview manifests in two main forms, biblical and secular, which are reflected in the music, although there is much overlap, especially in the modern era.





  1. Performing Apocalypse in the Medieval Ludus de Antichristo: Rhythm, Song, and Drama (Carol Symes, University of Illinois) – 25min


  1. Ich fühle Luft von anderem Planeten: Apocalypse and Transfiguration of Tonal Harmony and Metrical Time (Colin McAllister, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs) – 25min


  1. Apocalypticism in the Music of Bob Dylan (Richard F. Thomas, Harvard University) – 25min


  • The ‘Apocalyptic Shift’: ‘Land of Confusion’ – Genesis (1986) and Disturbed (2005) (Lorenzo DiTommaso (Concordia University Montréal)


  1. The End Times Are a’Changin: Composition for Guitar, Video and Socio-Multimedia (Derek Keller, Consumnes River College and Colin McAllister, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs) – 25 min


Discussion – 25min


In addition, look for me at the Cambridge University Press and Brepols publisher booths, where I’ll be promoting two books released in 2020: the Cambridge Companion to Apocalyptic Literature, and the Cambridge Glossa in Apocalypsin.


Co-hosted by the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion, the Annual Meetings 2020, originally scheduled to take place at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts, will now be held online during the two weeks from 30 November – 10 December, 2020.


November 30 @ 8:00 am
December 10 @ 2:00 pm


Society of Biblical Literature


Hynes Convention Center
900 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02115 United States
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