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The Biblical Man in Black: Paul in Johnny Cash/Johnny Cash in Paul

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Johnny Cash was well known as a singer and songwriter, of course, but he also wrote a historical novel about Paul. This paper takes that novel, and the biblical studies research Cash drew upon in writing it, as a point of departure for a reading of Cash's music as evidence of the singer-turned-novelist's lyrical Paulinism. It surveys some available reception methodologies, especially those relevant to a study of the Bible in popular music, and then explores Cash's lyrical oeuvre for actual quotations from, or even potential traces or echoes of, Paul. Toward the end the paper 'reverses the hermeneutical flow' by reading Paul in terms of Cash's early hit "I Walk the Line."

Affiliations: 1: University of Cincinnati


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