It is always interesting to read music reviews for new albums, for two reasons: (1) most music critics overload reviews with jargon, obscure references to other musical “influences,” and elliptical discourse structure (see, I’m doing the same thing; I’m not even sure what that combination of words means, but it sure makes this sound more erudite); and (2) they invariably try to impose on the album their own understanding of the lyrics or overall theme.
Whether it is some elaborate construction of the meaning of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon or scintillating insights into the latest from the Arcade Fire, Bruce Springsteen, or Miley Cyrus, the whole music review game becomes all the more interesting when someone finally interviews the actual musicians and asks them, “What did you mean by this song lyric?” In many (most?) cases the songwriter’s interpretation of his / her own song will be quite different from all the opinions of the learned music criticism community.
This is all well and good, for there is clearly an element of music that is open to listener response (or, in literary theory: reader-response criticism). But it does point in the direction I want to head with this study of the Mosaic Covenant. Many scholars who hold to the second view mentioned in my last post – namely, that the Mosaic Covenant is a recapitulation of the Covenant of Works and does not “belong,” so to speak, in the Covenant of Grace – rarely if ever ask of Moses, “What did you mean by this covenant of law that you documented from the Lord?”