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Musical Scores and the Eternal Present
Theology, Time and Tolkien

In this page you can find information, news and updates about Chiara Bertoglio's book on the theology of music, published by Pickwick in 2021, as well as news about presentations and much more! 

You are also welcome to send us your own review, which could be published on this page!

Musical scores and the Eternal Present

Theology, Time and Tolkien

Eugene OR: Pickwick, 2021

About this book

Music is played and heard in time, yet it is also embodied in space by musical scores. The observation of a musical score turns time into space and allows musicians to embrace the flow of time in a single glance. This experience constitutes a symbol for the Eternal Present, the simultaneous knowledge of all time outside time. This book analyzes the implications of this view through a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, linking theology, philosophy, literature, and music. It also studies how this theme has been foreshadowed in the writings of Dante and J. R. R. Tolkien, demonstrating the connections between their masterpieces and the aesthetics of their times. The result is a fascinating itinerary through the history of culture, thought, and music, but also a deeply theological and spiritual experience.


“Chiara Bertoglio, writer and performer, is blessed with an extraordinary imagination and an ability to draw on a remarkably wide range of sources. This book presses us to make multiple connections we have probably not made before, and in ways that are bound to bring both immense stimulation and enrichment.”
—Jeremy Begbie, professor, Duke University

“Musical Scores and the Eternal Present is a thought-provoking academic yet also very personal book. Drawing on philosophical thought and imagery from St. Augustine to our own times, it establishes a comprehensive Christian worldview based on the practical and symbolic significance of musical notation, revisiting along the way also the unfathomable question of the theodicy.”
—Nils Holger Petersen, associate professor emeritus, University of Copenhagen, and composer

“Chiara Bertoglio takes the reader gently by the hand through a journey of discovery into the nature of music and time, interacting with figures such Augustine, Boethius, Dante, Bergson, Adorno, and Tolkien, and by employing her unique insights as a theologian and accomplished musician she shows how musical scores can act as human analogues for the ‘eternal present.’”
—Richard H. Bell, Professor of Theology, University of Nottingham

Read an extract for free!

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Watch a video presentation (in Italian)

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Watch the one-minute trailer

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