Dylan Goes Old Testament

February, 09 2012

Seventy-six artists–the likes of Carly Simon, Elvis Costello, My Morning Jacket and (shudder) Dave Matthews Band–have taken on the task of covering the music of Bob Dylan to benefit Amnesty International. Dylan’s songs are perhaps better suited to the art of the cover than nearly any other musician; his nasal voice has, of course, always been a sore spot for critics. But we like him just fine! To prove it, here are our three favorite “Jewish” songs from the musician with the tempestuous relationship to Judaism.


Biblical imagery and themes abound–Eden, the Golden Calf, the urge to examine and interpret dreams. Don’t recall a “motorcycle black Madonna two-wheeled Gypsy queen” in the Torah, but maybe we missed that day in Hebrew school.


“God said to Abraham, ‘Kill me a son.'” We’re pretty sure that one has biblical overtones.


Cain and Abel, Einstein, notorious anti-Semite Ezra Pound, Noah’s rainbow–they all show up here.

And a bonus fun fact: Dylan’s Hebrew name is Shabtai. Other famous Shabtais? Well, there was that false messiah.

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