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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Kees de Graaf

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Door Simone Weil leerde ik inzien dat voor ons verstand hier beneden alles als tegensprekelijk gezien wordt, en dat er, als puntje bij paaltje komt, geen andere oplossing meer overschiet dan de waarheid te gaan zoeken voorbij de contradictie. Dus geen christelijk humanisme meer. Geen compromis meer. Maar beide tegelijk, christen èn humanist; rechtvaardige en tegelijk zondaar, vrij en tegelijk niet vrij. Vermits hier benden alles als relatief gezien wordt (en is) is er hier beneden ook niet zo iets als "de Waarheid". De mens heeft geen weten 'wat', hij heeft alleen een weten 'dat' zegt Wittgnstein. Als 'Waarheid', bestaat, als 'moraal' bestaat, komen ze van elders.
Jaren later pas, nadat ik dit allemaal serieus begrepen had, begon het tot me door te dringen dat het Evangelie dezelfde inzichten leert.

Gisteren tikte ik op internet "tegelijk zondaar en heilig" en ja, hoor, ik kwam terecht bij een Kees De Graaf die de Luther van "simul justus et peccator" en Lucas 18.13. oproept. Dat doet goed aan het hart, niet alleen omdat de mens nu beseft dat de contradictie inderdaad niet langer meer contradictie is in de hemel, maar vooral omdat de mens nu ook met zijn verstand alleen (en niet langer op gezag) verplicht wordt in te zien dat er geen andere 'Weg' is naar de Waarheid dan via de overstijging van de tegensprekelijkheid. Ineens zie ik wat Jezus bedoelde tien Hij zei: "Wat onmogelijk is voor de mens is mogelijk voor God." Van dit besef naar het besef dat Jezus de Weg, de Waarheid en het Leven is, is slechts een kleine wiskundig zekere stap. Laat nu de duisternis maar komen. .


bastiaens laurent25-02-2014 18:05

Hey, I enjoy reading your work:) I was wondering if you have reviewed the song "tempest"? I've read a few times that the titanic sinking was an illuminati hit, that the captain was under orders by the black pope of the Jesuit church to sink the ship. Apparently there were powerful men aboard the ship that had been preventing the creation of the federal reserve bank. A year or two later the private bank was created. A few parts of Tempest caught my ear. First was the part about the captin looking over at the compass and and looked into its face, the needle was pointed downward, he knew he had lost the race. A compass needle never points down, just goes around and around. I think the captin realized he had lost the race and was going to hell. And in the dark illumination remembered bygone years, he had read the book of revelation and filled his cup with tears


Kris Asaro22-02-2014 07:54

Hello Kees,
I'm an artist and I did an exhibition in 2012 titled "Now I Lay Me...". I just came across your website because I was interested in Dylan using lines from that prayer in "Roll On John". I enjoyed reading what you had to say about that song and I look forward to reading more of your writing. Here's a link to a review of my show:
Best wishes,
Charlie Brouwer
540 250 2966
Current project:


Charlie Brouwer17-02-2014 04:45

Greetings! Congratulations, fascinating analyses of B. Dylan's lyrics, much what I would try and do if I didn't have another perspective in mind. May I send a few rough paragraphs to you for your interest? I do take seriously Dylan's own statements of religious/spiritual conviction and witness. Too bad your homepage statement is not also in English! (?). Best Regards from Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA!


Stephen Clarke11-01-2014 16:24

Can you contact me via email?


Sharon11-01-2014 02:13

Sir, your interpretation of Dylan's songs is really amazing. I'm reading them with the Bible in my language (Polish) to understand it better. Dylan is an amazing and veery wise poeth.
I have a question. Are you still doing this interpretation? If you do, I think you should make an interpretation of "Desolation Row" and "It's alright Ma", beacuse I think, that they are really hard songs to undestand them. It will be pleasure to read your interpretation of that song. :) Of course, if You'll have a time to do that. :)
Best Regards!


Wladyslaw18-11-2013 02:33

SIr, Unfortunately, your commentary on Dylan's song Jokerman did not fully open on my computer for some reason. All I could read were the first few sentences.


Janet Striano07-11-2013 22:18

Hi again! In case you have any plans for writing an analysis of "Tempest" I wanted to share this passage that I stumbled upon while reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Ethics."

If Dylan did not have this in mind when writing "Tempest" Ill eat my shoe.

"By the loss of the unity which is possessed through the form of Jesus Christ, the western world is brought to the brink of the void. The forces unleashed exhaust their fury in mutual destruction. Everything established is threatened with annihilation. This is not a crisis among other crises. It is a decisive struggle of the last days. The western world senses the uniqueness of the moment at which it stands, and it throws itself into the arms of the void, while the Christians talk among themselves of the approach of the Day of Judgement.


In the face of the peril of the void there is no longer any meaning in the question of the historical inheritance which requires of those who receive it that they shall both develop it in the present and hand it on to the future. There is no future and there is no past. There is only the moment which has been rescued from the void, and the desire to snatch from the void the next moment as well. Already what belongs to yesterday is consigned to oblivion, and the affairs of tomorrow are still too far off to impose any obligation today. The burden of yesterday is shaken off by glorifying the misty past, and tomorrow’s task is evaded by speaking rather of the coming millennium. Nothing makes a permanent impression and nothing imposes a lasting obligation.

A sign of the deep forgetfulness of the present time is the film which is erased from the viewer’s memory as soon as it is over. Events which are of profound significance for the history of the world and the most monstrous and unheard-of crimes are alike incapable of leaving any trace in the oblivious soul.


Amid the disruption of the whole established order of things there stand the Christian Churches as guardians of the heritage of the Middle Ages and of the Reformation and especially as witnesses of the miracle of God in Jesus Christ “yesterday, and today, and for ever” (He. 13.8). And at their side there stands the “restrainer,” that is to say the remaining force of order which still opposes effective resistance to the process of decay.

The corpus christianum is broken asunder. The corpus Christi confronts a hostile world. The world has known Christ and has turned its back on Him, and it is to this world that the Church must now prove that Christ is the living Lord.

Even while she waits for the last day, the Church, as the bearer of a historical inheritance, is bound by an obligation to the historical future. Her vision of the end of all things must not hinder her in the fulfilment of her historical responsibility. She must leave not only the end to God’s decision, but also the possibility of the continuance of history. She must set her mind on both."


NateW08-10-2013 07:31

Hi Kees! I really enjoy your Bob Dylan song analysis!

I just read your analysis on "pay in blood" and was surprised to note that you seem to have missed the primary scriptures that are most relevant to the song!

Ezekiel 3:7-10 (ESVST)
But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me:because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. 8 Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. 9 Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” 10 Moreover, he said to me, “ Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears.

Ezekiel 3:16-22 (ESVST)
A Watchman for Israel
16 And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me:17 “ Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die, ’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. 20 Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”

"I pay in blood, but not my own" then carries a double meaning. Dylan is confessing that his warnings have too often been extended in the form of judgement and self-righteous cynicism ("I'll stand over your grave til I'm sure that you're dead," "you've got a heart of stone") fueled by anger rather than Love. Yet, at the same time, he has repented of these failures and knows that his sins have been paid for by the blood of Christ. He knows that he deserves to have the blood of others demanded from him, but he also knows that the blood of Christ has paid this debt.

I think that explains the alternating personalities, the vicious snarls and the thankful praise, throughout the song. In the past he was determined that other people would pay with their own blood, not his, but now he knows that Christ's blood covers all.

Thought that might be interesting to you. These verses really color the whole album. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Keep up the great work!


NateW08-10-2013 06:23

I enjoy reading your analyses of Dylan's lyrics. I'm wondering if you have considered writing on "Sign on the Cross" -- from the Basement Tapes. It's a powerful song. I'd enjoy reading your thoughts on it.

Best wishes.


Tom01-10-2013 18:24

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