Johann Sebastian Bach: The Fifth Evangelist

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote one of his most famous works, the Christmas Oratorio, to be performed during the Christmas season.

Bach is thought to be the greatest organist and composer of the baroque era—called the “fifth evangelist” for his gospel-like music.

Most of Bach’s 1,000 compositions were for use in worship,primarily for the Lutheran liturgy.

At age 48 Bach received a copy of Martin Luther’s three-volume translation of the Bible.

He wrote in the margin of 1 Chronicles 25, at the listing of David’s musicians: “This chapter is the true foundation of all God-pleasing music.”

Markus Rathey, professor of Music History at Yale University, and president of the American Bach Society, wrote of Bach’s “impressive collection of theology books” and Bach’s “annotations in his copy of the Bible,” adding that Bach’s work ”was written to speak to the faithful!”


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