The World Christian Lecture Series of Hope College will feature “Reshaping Lament: Music and the Way to Joy,” a lecture-performance by Dr. Jeremy Begbie of Duke Divinity School, on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7:30 p.m. at Pillar Church.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Begbie will explore how music and lament have been very closely linked in history even as in today’s church sung lament in worship is relatively rare.  He will show how various forms of music—from blues to Baroque recitative, from Old English laments to Scottish keening—can deepen understanding and experience of what it means to say that the path to joy only comes through tears.  The lecture will include performance at the piano as well as recorded music.

“Dr. Begbie embodies the rare wisdom and skills of both aesthetic sophistication and theological erudition. His ability to lecture on theological themes from the piano is one of those rare experiences that is unforgettable,” said Dr. Trygve Johnson, who is the Hinga-Boersma Dean of the Chapel at Hope and whose office coordinates the lecture series.  “The focus of this lecture will theologically explore from the piano how music theory can help us embrace and experience lament in such a way that it may move us towards a deeper joy.”    


Begbie is the inaugural holder of the Thomas A. Langford Research Professorship in Theology at Duke Divinity School and founding director of Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts.

He teaches systematic theology, and he specializes in the interface between theology and the arts.  His particular research interest is the interplay between music and theology.

Begbie is also a Senior Member at Wolfson College, Cambridge, and an Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge.  Previously he has been Associate Principal at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and Honorary Professor at the University of St. Andrews, where he directed the research project “Theology Through the Arts” at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts.

He is author of a number of books, including “Voicing Creation’s Praise: Towards a Theology of the Art” (T&T Clark); “Theology, Music and Time” (CUP); and, most recently, “Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music” (Baker/SPCK), which won the “Christianity Today” 2008 Book Award in the Theology/Ethics Category.  He is a professionally trained and active musician, and has taught widely in the United Kingdom, North American and South Africa, specializing in multimedia performance-lectures.

The World Christian Lecture Series invites recognized Christian thinkers and practitioners who are leaders in their respective disciplines and areas of expertise to join with the Hope and Holland communities in exploring issues, themes and ideas that face Christians in the world.  The annual series, which debuted in 2008 and is coordinated by the college’s campus ministries office, features a mix of speakers that can include Christian scholars, artists, preachers, politicians, and industry and church leaders.

Pillar Church is located at 57 E. 10th St., between Ninth and 10th streets along College Avenue.