Sometimes it feels like Bob Dylan says: "I practice a faith that's long been abandoned, ain't no altars on this long and lonesome road"

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What does Bob Dylan really believe?

What does Bob Dylan really believe? –by Kees de Graaf

Ever since Dylan was converted to Christianity in 1979, there has been a lot of controversy among fans – believers and non- believers- focusing on the question whether Dylan in some sort of a way has adhered to his decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ, or that he has abandoned this faith a long time ago. For those who feel that he has abandoned his faith in Jesus, one may ask the question if there is enough evidence that proves that he has in fact given up his faith in Jesus. A clear statement that he has in fact given up his faith would be very helpful for them. A statement which could run like: There was a time, a brief period, a couple of years, when I thought I believed in God and in Jesus, a time when I believed that the Bible was right, but not anymore. I was confused at the time but later on I realized that it was all just a hoax. Forget the whole thing; there is no God and there is no heaven, the only thing I now believe in is myself and in the spirit of creativity”. But the fact is that such an unequivocal statement does not exist. Those who believe that Dylan has given up on Jesus were forced to take resort to all sorts of ‘circumstantial’ evidence to proof that they are right or to make it at least credible that Dylan’s faith in Jesus is passé. We mention some of these arguments:

 1. It is true that during his so-called Christian period (1979-1981) Dylan often talked about Jesus and the Bible, not only in his songs but also during raps on stage and in interviews, but in later years he is elusive about his faith in Jesus and hardly ever explicitly speaks about Jesus or the Bible, not in his songs, not on stage or in the press.

 2. Dylan denounced Christianity and returned to some sort of Judaism; he attended the Bar Mitzvah ceremonials of his children; he frequented (s) synagogues, in 2007 he went to Chabad- Lubavitch for Yom Kippur, where he got an aliyah to the Torah. (an ‘aliyah’’ is an “ascent” and represents the immigration of Jews to Israel and Chabad- Lubavitch is a philosophy, a movement, and an organization. It is considered to be the most dynamic force in Jewish life today).

3. Dylan no longer believes in Jesus or in the Bible as the word of God, but he finds solace in the religiosity and philosophy of the music and the songs. This is apparent from an interview that Dylan gave in 1996 for the magazine Newsweek. Novelist David Gates asked Dylan what he believed. Dylan replied, “I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don’t find it anywhere else. Songs like ‘Let Me Rest on a Peaceful Mountain’ or ‘I Saw the Light’—that’s my religion. I don’t adhere to rabbis, preachers, evangelists, all of that. I’ve learned more from the songs than I’ve learned from any of this kind of entity. The songs are my lexicon. I believe the songs.”
“Those old songs are my lexicon and prayer book,"
Bob Dylan said in 1997, after the release of his album "Time Out of Mind" which was his first album of original material in seven years. Dylan said "All my beliefs come out of those old songs, literally, anything from `Let Me Rest on that Peaceful Mountain' to `Keep on the Sunny Side.' You can find all my philosophy in those old songs. I believe in a God of time and space, but if people ask me about that, my impulse is to point them back toward those songs. I believe in Hank Williams singing `I Saw the Light.' I've seen the light, too”. Also somewhere in 1997, Dylan gave another interview about American roots music-like the songs of Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers, some of these songs were on his set lists. "That's my religion," he said. "I don't adhere to rabbis, preachers, evangelists .I've learned more from the songs than I've learned from any of this kind of entity."

What may be the counter- arguments of all those who believe that Bob Dylan has not denounced his faith in Jesus and is as committed to Jesus as ever before?:

1.There was indeed a time (1979-1981) when Dylan was very overt about Jesus. However, If Dylan would have continued to spread the good news of the gospel in the same way like he did in the years 1979-1981 his influence would have been minimized. His message in the years 1979-1980 was so unequivocally uncompromising that it alienated a large percentage of his fans. If he had continued in the same way- also by performing only his Christian repertoire-, he would not only have lost his worldwide influence as a secular artist but at the same time his sphere of influence would have been reduced to a small gospel scene only. Although Dylan later on said that what he did in 1979 and 1980 was something he had to do, those gospel songs had to come out, in 1981 however, Dylan started again to incorporate songs from his pre-born  albums into his shows and from then on also his songwriting took a new turn. The new lyrics became less and less overtly Christian and more and more all kinds of universal and secular elements were introduced in his lyrics. The message was more and more hidden and fellow believers had to learn to read the same old message of the gospel between the lines. From then on it also meant that his new songs could be interpreted in various ways, not always necessarily only in a Christian way; the new lyrics were open for debate. The debate about the interpretation of his new lyrics between believers and non-believers began, and has continued up to this very day. As the internet progressed in the nineties, a worldwide forum was created where this discussion has been going on.
The fact is that Jesus, in some sort of a way, did the same thing. There was a time when Jesus- just like Dylan did in his own way and on his own level in 1979 and 1980- spread the message of the Kingdom of God overtly and openly, but when Jesus met with a lot of hostility and resistance (Matthew 13:13-15) he started to use parables to spread the message. A parable is a comparison, a similitude; specifically, a short fictitious narrative of something which might really occur in life or nature, by means of which a moral lesson is drawn. What did that mean?
Firstly, a secret is hidden in the parable (Matthew 13: 10). Secondly, it takes effort to find the message which is hidden in the parable, you have to study, you have to ask to find the solution (Matthew 13:36) and thirdly, although the public at large does not come to grasp the message hidden in the parable, the parable in itself, as a story, is palatable for the public at large. The parable of ‘the prodigal son’, (Luke 15:11-32) is an example of this. As a story, this parable is fascinating on itself.
The road which Dylan has been following in his song writing process is comparable with what Jesus did. It may also have to do with the bargain, the deal, which Dylan said he made with God. For more information on this subject, we refer to my analysis of "When the deal goes down"- Part 1     

2. Christianity does not exclude Judaism; in fact the historical roots of Christianity are in Judaism. If someone converts from Judaism to Christianity, he or she is not forced to denounce his or her Jewish roots. One may say that converts expand and enrich their view and experience of God. And that is something which happened to Bob Dylan. In the Bible we read that when the Apostles spread the good news of Jesus all over the world, the first place in any town they visited on their mission tours was always the Jewish synagogue. The apostles never asked the Jews to give up their Jewish lifestyle but they only begged them to accept Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, which was promised in the Torah and by the Prophets. Somewhere on a forum I read: "Dylan is in some ways an ultimate Christian. Why? Because he started as a Jew! Like Mary; Like Jesus. As Christ says, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." (King James, Matthew 5:17). The events of the New Testament are not merely a sequel to the Old, they are intimately related."

3. If somebody would say: “I find the religiosity and philosophy in the Book of Common Prayer. I don’t find it anywhere else. If we would like to know what such a person believes, the only thing we have to do is to take a look and see what’s in that Book of Common Prayer and what it refers to. When Dylan says: ““I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don’t find it anywhere else” and “Those old songs are my lexicon and prayer book," we just have to take a close look at those songs to find out what Dylan actually believes. Let us make and effort.
Chris Gregory in his commentary on the songs of ‘Modern Times’ has also made an effort and writes about the bluegrass spiritual: “Hallelujah I’m ready to go”: “his concert performances in the late 90s and early 2000s of bluegrass spirituals by the Stanley Brothers and others can be seen as affirmations, not of the religion they proselytize as such but of Dylan’s ‘faith’ in the songs themselves. …Hallelujah!… he sings, in the Stanley Brothers song he’s covered most of all …I’m ready to go!…”. This statement of Chris Gregory hardly seems to make any sense, to say the least of it.  Does Gregory want to suggest that with ‘I’m ready to go’ Dylan intends to express that he is ready to abandon the traditional faith? If that were true it would be only wishful thinking on Gregory’s part and I’m sorry to put it that way, but this would be sheer nonsense. If it is not the message expressed in the lyrics of the song the poet has faith it, what else is there left in this song to have faith in? Take away the message of the song and there is nothing left in the song to believe in. The message of the song is crystal clear: The poet is ready to go (to God) because ‘he let his Savior (Jesus) in, and he saved his soul from sin’ and he is ready to go because ‘he is a wonderful Savior to know, I fell down on my knees and he answered all my pleas’. The message of the song is: Jesus is a wonderful Savior, he saved my soul from sin and because of that I’m ready to meet God. That is what the poet believes.(‘One sweet day, I’ll stand beside my King’) Apart from that, I’m a little surprised to read that according to Chris Gregory  this is the Stanley Brother’s song Dylan’s covered the most. ‘Hallelujah I’m ready to go’ was covered 38 times. But ‘I am the man Thomas’, however, was covered 59 times. In this song Dylan introduces Jesus in the “I” form. This song about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is even more overtly Christian than “Hallelujah I’m ready to go”, and touches upon the very center of the Christian faith.

The message which the bluegrass gospel songs deliver is basically the same in most of the songs of that kind. This message is that we are all sinners by nature. But we have a wonderful Savior, who loves us and has paid for our sins. If we go to Him, he takes away the burden of sin and fills our hearts with great joy. This is also the case in the bluegrass gospel songs Dylan says he believes in, and of which Dylan says that in these songs he finds his religiosity and philosophy and that these songs are his lexicon and prayer book. For instance, Dylan mentions Hank Williams’s “I saw the Light”. What does this song say:
I wandered so aimless , life filled with sin.

I wouldn't let my dear Savior in.

Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night.

Praise The Lord, I saw the Light”.

We conclude that the bluegrass gospel songs Dylan refers to, focus on the very heart of the Gospel. The center and the heart of the Gospel is, that there his redemption for man through the Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore it seems obvious to me that when Dylan says that he finds his religiosity and philosophy in these songs and these songs are his prayer book and lexicon, he wants to make it clear – in his typically Dylanesque, somewhat elaborate and elusive way- that he is still committed to Jesus as his personal Savior. This is just an inseparable part of the deal, the bargain he said he made with God a long time ago. It is true, Dylan is a stand- alone Christian. No generation, no church, no denomination, organization, political or social movement can claim Dylan as spokesman. On the other hand, there seems to be a growing consensus, also among non-religious scholars and historians – as you may for instance read in Professor Sean Willentz’ latest book ‘Bob Dylan in America’ – that Dylan, in his own way, adheres to the basic principles of Christianity.  

Furthermore, I’d like to draw attention to something else Dylan said in the 1997 interview we referred to above. Dylan says: “I believe in a God of time and space. Again, this is a very Dylanesque statement. No matter how enigmatic  this statement may look at first glance – in the same way as Dylan calls Jesus the ‘The Commander in Chief ‘Dylan  in his 2004 CBS interview – it nevertheless gives us an important clue to understanding Dylan’s conception of God. “I believe in a God of time and space is just another way of saying that Dylan believes in a personal God. God entered our time and space when He incarnated in his Son Jesus Christ. God became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ. The eternal becomes temporal. What Dylan may have had in mind with this statement could not be better formulated than John Allister did in 1999, when he wrote an article about God, Space and Time. We quote:  
“All of that (that God is a God of time and space) doesn't make God any less real than us. In fact, if anything, it means that he is more real than we are. We have a beginning as people and, at least in this world, an end as well. God doesn't. We are constrained by time. He isn't. When God revealed his name in the Old Testament, he said he was "I am". Apparently the Hebrew for that means "I am, always have been and will continue to be". God is the one true constant, going beyond the universe. What is amazing then is that in Jesus there is someone who is God and yet is confined within space and time. People could literally see and touch God. It is not amazing that God could do this - after all, he is omnipotent. Rather what is amazing is that he loves us so much that the eternal Second Person of the Godhead became confined within space and time for us”.
It looks as if, when in this interview Dylan said: “I believe in a God of time and space” Dylan somehow must have realized in the back of his mind that this was quite an enigmatic statement. That may be the reason why he impulsively tries to clarify and simply this statement by saying,” but if people ask me about that, my impulse is to point them back toward those songs. I believe in Hank Williams singing `I Saw the Light.' I've seen the light, too”. This is as if Dylan said: “If you want to know what I mean when I say that I believe in a God of time and space, take a look at these songs. These songs point to the Light, these songs point to Jesus, my Savior, he is the One who entered time and space for me”.
Finally, to wrap this up the following: Chris Gregory in his analysis of Dylan’s ‘Ain’t  Talking’ writes: “A number of commentators (particularly on Christian or ‘faith-based’ culture-commentary websites and blogs) have referred to the plethora of Biblical allusions on Modern Times as ‘proving’ Dylan’s continual ‘faith in Jesus’. But this is surely just wish-fulfillment on their part”. Through this article I hope to have shown that my personal conviction, that Dylan is still committed to Jesus is no wishful thinking on my part but may have some solid grounds in the facts. To deny this may equally be qualified as wishful thinking. There is something to choose, or it may be like Dylan once said: It's either one or the other or neither of the two”.  Please press ‘reacties’ below if you are willing to respond to this article.


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Published on: 12-08-2011 14:14:50

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I was introduced to the music of Bob Dylan back around 1979 +. by the closest, if not the only real friend I ever had, Beside my dear wife. He has since gone on to his Promised Rest. I miss him & his dearly loved family.
I am one who would say, I know little or nothing; however, I have many convictions about most of life. Your words in this article sets well in my mind and heart.
Thank you.
Some day I hope to meet Bob Dylan, and see my dear old friend Jim again.


RICARD YOUNGMAN16-06-2022 15:38

The collection of Bob Dylan’s lyrics is said as well as Christ’s collection of parables. You just have to know how to Hear what God is saying.


Marsha Williams29-05-2022 06:34

To me the "Oh Mercy" album of 1979 is the shining light to Bob's inner thoughts on this subject where each song sits at a unique level across his broad considerations. Only a reborn soul would take on the themes in these songs and give them the wonderful insights and honesty as he has. Plus the musical arrangements and production excellence of Daniel Lanois and it's a gem and my favourite . Strange to me that many people who say they like Dylan so often haven't heard of the album. Inspired brilliance I say. Thoughts from an Aussie.


Spirro Carydis.19-02-2022 09:25

No greater prize does a Christian seek than that of a Jew who claims Jesus to be his Messiah.

Dylan gave it his best shot but in the end said that he could not learn to drink that blood and call it wine.


Larry Fyffe27-09-2021 19:07

In the book that came with the box set Biography. When asked if he could in any time period. He said he'd want to live during Christs ministry or to have been one of King David's Mighty Men.

After this article in a 2012 Rolling Stone interview he he said he wanted to make another Christian album and referred to Jesus as "our Lord"


Christian20-04-2021 13:40

After just reading Scott Marshall's "Bob Dylan - A Spiritual Life" I believe that Dylan is a Jewish Christian or a Messianic Believer. The quotes that surround his coming to faith by Pastor Larry Meyers and his assistant Dave Kelly, not to mention Al Jasha, all point to a sincere, deep commitment to Jesus.
Of course, only God knows I guess but if confession of Jesus as Savior is one key, then Bob has confessed faithfully!
Roger Malstead


Roger Malstead01-09-2017 07:52

Jesus & Dylan are One..


Abdul carl29-04-2015 05:34

I got saved the same year as Dylan and bought his three religious albums as I have always been a fan.When I heard that he had apostasised to Judaism I felt for him that he would walk away from the way the truth and the life of our savior and Great GOD OF GOD'S and King of Kings YESHUA, JESUS. The pressure of being on top and an icon in the music world must have been tremendous for him.Jesus said to the rich young man who had everything in Matthew 19:20-30, sell everything you have and take up your cross and follow me and you will have Eternal Life.The cost of losing everything for Jesus to gain life and life Eternal is too great for the rich and powerful but Mark 8:34-38, what does it profit a man if he has everything in this life but loses his own soul to spend the whole of Eternity where Jesus himself said your worm will not die and you will be tormented in flames of fire.Jesus plainly tells us the cost of discipleship in Luke 14:25-35, verse 33 ..So like wise whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath cannot be my disciple.It cost God everything and he expects the same of us.1 Corinthians 1:25-29, not many wise, not many powerful, not many noble are called, I think Bob Dylan found the cost of discipleship too much and if he does not REPENT like everyone else and forsake everything like everyone else he like everyone else will perish in the Lake of fire.Many are called but FEW are Chosen Matthew 7:21-23...Enter in at the Strait gate, narrow is the way that leads to eternal life and Few that make it in the end..Tahir.Yiicel.Halil minister of the Gospel.


Tahir.Yiicel.Halil07-12-2014 04:48

Thank you for your astute comments. Especially concerning the fact that faith in the Messiah does not disconnect you from the your Jewish roots. This is not only true of the Gentile believers who are grafted in, but also of Jewish believers in Messiah Yeshua. I know that Dylan dislikes being pigeon -holed by anyone. His testimony in his songs are very clear. He has experienced the saving grace of the Lord and evidently, rather than disowning his songs that are overtly gospel oriented, he points to them as well as his other works as revealing his beliefs. For me, he is both my kinsman according to the flesh and my brother in Messiah's saving grace. His gift continues to be a blessing to all, no matter what their [personal spiritual preference might be.


Steve08-03-2013 06:14

bob is a believer trust me, he just doesn't want to say anything that gets twisted i met him and spoke to him


peter26-12-2012 20:23

good article. i just watched a dvd today called Dylan: Serving Time about his "gospel years". very interesting. what i will say is that i have a hunch that the orthodox jewish establishment came on so strong to dylan during  his very "out" gospel years" to shut him down/off from influencing jewish fans....and the pressure was so intense... 


bat29-01-2012 03:36

this article and replies seem like an attempt to shovel glimpses into ditches. I dont see any of this jesus stuff. jesus is just alright and if you can see him everywhere thats fine but I get the feeling Bobs a pretty straightforward guy so since its a free world I'll take him as he comes


suki20-11-2011 19:12

 The Messianic complex was in a Rolling Stone interview in the mid 80s I believe....This can be related to his views on the anti-Christ....some smooth talking Jokerman.
Many people would relish the idea that Brother Bob does not accept Jesus Christ....They are too invested in their counter Christlike ways to want to see such a hip guy say, Jesus Christ is Lord...
Jesus kept going to temple and so should Bob,....but he likes the Bells of St Catherine too.....He knows who Christ is....Do I? Do we?   Thunder on the Mountain...Check out Maria Esperanza, and Christina Gallagher related to 9-11 and Jesus Christ.

have hope folks....God loves us all. Some sweet day I'll stand beside my KING....DOnt betray Christ's faithful... "I already confessed, don't need to confess again" Bob sings but I am sure he confesses Jesus Christ quite often....Do I? Do you.

Pray for peace... Global hiccup could come...Blow back for 2 billion abortions worldwide in last 40 some odd years..Defend life...Mother Teresa said the fruit of abortion is nuclear war...( I mistyped above where I typed 1 Billion abortions every year... It is 50 million worldwide every year and approximately 1 billion every 20 years

Yes Bob loves Jesus Christ.....and as Christ said to all of us, "if you love me you will keep my commandments."

Remain the property of Jesus +++


tom14-08-2011 19:04

From Yakety Yak, by Scott Cohen:

"Whether you want to believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah is irrelevant, but whether you believe in the messianic complex, that's all that is important. "- Bob Dylan

 That seems pretty clear and straightforward.
He then goes on to define "messianic complex". Well worth reading if you can find it. 


bob levitt14-08-2011 18:04

What does Dylan really believe? That, "Man Gave Names To All Of The


Jan14-08-2011 16:03

Bob Dylan zelf is gelukkig wat subtieler... Hoeveel gelijk je ook hebt. Dit soort verhalen neigen naar de zonde tegen het 2e gebod v.h. dylandom. De songs van dylan hebben jouw interpretatie niet nodig - die kunnen het zonder af. Laat zo'n laatste couplet van bv. Aint Talkin' voor zichzelf spreken - subtiel en niet claimerig. Terug naar het luisteren van Dylan - waar de luisteraar zelf kan invullen wat hij bewust aan de verbeelding overlaat... Mijns inziens sla je die unieke ervaring van de kunst dood met dit soort analyses - hoe waar of goed ook...


PK14-08-2011 14:20

Kees de Graff,
Many thanks for your article here on Dylan's faith.
In case you had not noticed - on the website - there is (or was...I don't find it now) - an interview with Bob on the release of his Christmas album.  The interviewer asks him about one song - I think it's "O Come All Ye Faithful," and comments to Dylan, "you sing that like a true believer," almost implying, "though you're not."  Dylan responds simply, "I am a true believer."
It is a little disconcerting to those like me who think that Dylan is indeed a believer in Christ and still a follower that Dylan does not make a little clearer statements about what he believes.  It would be helpful for him to mention the Bible, for instance, in the exchange like this one you refer to:
Songs like Let Me Rest on a Peaceful Mountain or I Saw the Lightthats my religion. I dont adhere to rabbis, preachers, evangelists, all of that. Ive learned more from the songs than Ive learned from any of this kind of entity. The songs are my lexicon. I believe the songs.

I have sometimes thought that Bob has muted his testimony of Christ or so it seems in part because of struggles with sin.  I can't say for sure and have no way of knowing, but from his songs, I have often thought that the physical relationship with a woman is pretty much a necessity with Bob, and if so, then I bet he's not been good at following the biblical admonitions to abstain from such outside of marriage.  And, I speak of his years since his conversion. 
I greatly appreciate Bob's ability to render theology and biblical truth on a such a profound and human level.  I have said that my pastor has not ever taught me anything that Dylan hasn't either, and Dylan does it in a more interesting, sublte, less stilted, formal and in a more human way.
I became a Dylan fan two or three years ago I'd never paid much attention to him, or many secular/popular musicians for that matter,  much.  One of the reasons I became engrossed in his music was the gospel songs, and the story of, and wonder about, his faith.  Thanks for your research and conclusions.


Robert14-08-2011 03:16

Hi- I started to comment here and it turned into an essay in and of itself. I decided it wasn't good manners to hijack someone's site and article so I have decided to post a paragraph or two here and in full on my own blog- a conversation of sorts. Or maybe like the call and answer songs of old."

This is a wonderful piece. I have had your site bookmarked for some time and try to stop in and read (catch up on your writings) when I can.

Dylan has been a touchstone for me for 40 plus years. As I get older I find myself more and more fascinated with him and his journey. He is someone that can be viewed through many lenses- I think we tend to project onto him  our understandings of the moment in our own journey. I know I do this- I see him and think he is this or that but what i am seeing is myself in some way. Not as a narcissistic exercise but a learning about self....
For me Bob is an example of how to be committed to one's calling, how to have fidelity to one's own journey, despite the side trips, the straying, the getting lost in the distractions we all  seem to enjoy now and then... but his fidelity to the inner moral compass brings him back to his unique path and purpose,what is called from him, or perhaps what the world's condition evokes from him.....

We all have that calling, that yearning to be fulfilling our purpose- (if we only knew what it was) and for me Dylan lives it and is an example of how to do it. Focus, determination, purity of purpose- and yes, I am aware that these are my projections because this is what I need in my life- that purpose in the world that I have been trying to understand, reconcile and find my entire life. My great existential quest (ion) for 60 years......Anyway, Bob's Christianity. Personally I don't see him as a Christian in the traditional sense. 

"This is just an inseparable part of the deal, the bargain he said he made with God a long time ago. It is true, Dylan is a stand- alone Christian...." I know of many Christians who would say that one cannot be a stand alone Christian, that the community, the church is what is important- the church is the body of Christ in the world and if you aren't in it you aren't Christian-- I had a professor at Seminary who let me know that- being a solitary I found it  a bit off putting and remarkably and  perhaps willfully ignorant of all the hermits, monks, nuns,  and anchorites who have upheld their faith for two thousand years...
...And I see in Bob a universality, whether he is a follower of Christ, committed to the teachings of the Jesus of the Bible or not. I do not know. I identify with his journey and lately I am hoping to learn a thing or two from his example- at least as I perceive it. Trying to find that commitment, focus, discipline and fidelity on my own path.

There is so much more here I would love to comment on- to have a conversation with- but I KNOW this is already too long and I should edit lots of this out. But the articles and writings about Bob that engage me in a deeper way are few and far between. I thank you for that!...
Anyway- that is just a small portion of the thoughts your piece evoked. If you would like to read more come to my woefully neglected blog where I will post the whole shebang- disjointed as it may


diana13-08-2011 20:36

Many people don't understand the complexity of being "Jewish." I have known "messianic" Jews who are fairly mainstream Christians in their beliefs. But I've also known Jews who still worshiped at a Synagogue who believed Jesus is the Messiah but not God and certainly no Trinity. But completely maintained a Jewish, not "Christian" way of life. One must understand that for Dylan to support Lubavitch in some ways or go to a shul after the loss of Suze Rotollo is his culture and religion. He will always be a Jew. Jesus never stopped being a Jew. But I think Dylan wanted to get away from the mainstream Christian thing. It's too goyish laughs. And I think Dylan finally felt that he was being too overt in some of the things he'd say in shows. I think he withdrew from much of that. On the other hand when he is introduced I believe the announcement says he became a Christian. But you've never heard him say, I'm not a Jew anymore. Interesting article. I enjoyed it. I know bible well enough to know that the allusions etc to bible have never stopped. Take care.


david desmond13-08-2011 17:50

1000% yes Dylan still loves, praises and confesses Jesus Christ...and of course he is still a Jew. In Thunder on the Mountain he sings of "standing beside my King"...He also sings, "I already confessed, don't need to confess again" As he sings this in the video which I believe his son edited and or produced  it shows Bob with his "Gospel band" with bassist Tim Drummond... Dylan would be quick to tell us to worry about our own salvation whether we are Jew, Christian, Hindu, Muslim , Buddhist or whatever. ....'What's the sense of talking to me, its the same as talking to you."
Pray for peace, for Dylan, the orphans, the rioters, the soldiers, the starving, the rich... Jesus Christ will reveal Himself more and more as the darkness grows...There will be Divine intervention, for as the scripture says, "He will abandon us to our own reprobate minds" As the darkness grows, Christ will become more evident in those who work for Christ, of his fold and not...The law was written on our hearts, and non Christians can follow God too...they will just learn of Christ's reality when they pass on....1 BILLION abortions every please pray and work to end this slaughter...Mother Teresa said, "the fruit of abortion is nuclear war."   
Good article, especially about your points of messianic Jews still holding onto their Judaism, while accepting Jesus Christ as the world's messiah. Arch Angel Michael, defend us in battle and be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil....St Teresa and St Catherine, pray for us.


tom13-08-2011 15:34

Have you seen 'Out of the Dark Woods - Dylan, Depression and Faith'? The book does 2 things: 
Firstly the author (a medical doctor) looks at the reasons for the 7 year gap to 'Time out of Mind', the reasons in Dylan's personal life for the gap, and looks at the album's lyrics and title and arrives at a medical diagnosis - reactive depression. To my knowledge, no one has said this before. 
Secondly it looks at Dylan's lyrics from 'Infidels' on and pulls out all the sources for the lyrics (Bogart films etc), but especially the biblical ones. Most of these are new information, because serious biblical analysis mainly stopped after Dylan's so-called 'Christian phase'. The author (a bible scholar) shows (too many examples to mention) that the bible's influence continued. 
I guess we have seen that with the new stage version of 'Gonna Change my Way of Thinking'. This is new information too - one example that comes to mind is exactly who the 'Jokerman' is and why. 
Finally it is worth mentioning that the publisher ( is following Dylan's example and giving all the proceeds to a homeless charity. Well worth reading for the medical stuff alone


Tom Stone13-08-2011 14:25

Great article and I agree. Messianic Jews are not that uncommon, but seem to be hugely misunderstood by both Jews and Christians, and totally confound the media.One point that is seldom mentioned is him performing in front of and generally identifying with the Dylan Eye Logo , the eye being the eye of God, the crown being King of king and lord of lords, Jesus and the the diving Dove being the Holy spirit. Performing in front of a huge symbol for the trinity has to have profound significance for what the man believes 


Paul13-08-2011 14:02

Although not a believer myself, I must admit your arguments are strong and  Bob Dylan is most probably a Messianic Jew.


Francois13-08-2011 11:47

I'm in agreement with the previous comments. On a personal level it was Dylan who led me to Christ in 1979, through Slow Train Coming. I'm of the opinion that his gospel albums were inspired; the lyrics cut to the quick as to what's going on in this world. I still look for, and find scriptural nuggets in his works since the "gospel period".


Douglas13-08-2011 11:02

You have stated in very clear terms all that I have thought about Dylan as his faith is concerned. Well done. I couldn't agree with you more. It's as plain as day - Dylan still believes in the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.


Jerry13-08-2011 10:02

Nice statement, good research, and I certainly agree with the outcome ...! I do think, like Bono in his lyrics, Bob Dylan writes in more than one level, suggesting, wandering, wondering. After all he is a great poet.


Anton Verweij12-08-2011 23:10

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