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Cambridge Interfaith Programme


Dr Delvyn Case is a Massachussets-based composer and musician with a commitment to exploring religious texts via contemporary musical settings. This event will feature a screening of a solo cantata written Genesis 22, where Abraham is commanded to sacrifice his son. Dr Case will be present in person, to discuss this work with respondents from the University of Cambridge.

The Binding of Isaac according to the Elohist:
A new solo cantata 

For three millennia, the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac—known in Hebrew tradition as the Akedah (“binding”)has provoked Jews, Christians, and Muslims to explore questions central to a life of faith as “People of the Book“:

  • What is faith?
  • What is the nature of God?
  • What does God require of us?
  • What answers does scripture reveal?

This event features a screening and discussion of The Binding of Isaac according to the Elohist, a solo cantata by award-winning American composer Delvyn Case. A highly dramatic and theatrical work, the cantata explores this complex and difficult story by highlighting the human drama between Abraham and Isaac while also embracing its fundamental absurdity.

A sacred work designed to intentionally to grapple with central theological issues of the Abrahamic faiths, the cantata challenges listeners to confront its central themes of violence, sacrifice, and atonement. Unique among the many musical settings of the Akedah story, the cantata’s libretto is based on the proposed “original” version of Genesis 22 from the “Elohist” source, as identified by the scholar Tzemah Yoreh.

This 25-minute work was originally premiered in 2021 as part of the liturgy at All Saints Church (Anglican) in Massachusetts, sponsored by the Studio for Faith, Art, and History at Gordon College. Since then it has been presented as part of interfaith discussion sessions sponsored by the Anglican parish of St Martin in the Fields (London), Butler University (Indiana, USA), and other religious institutions. In 2022, the piece was featured on the “Unorthodox” podcast produced by the American Jewish magazine Tablet.

An introduction to the work by the composer will be followed by a screening of the video from the world-premiere performance, and discussion with invited respondents.

About the composer

Delvyn Case is an American musician, scholar, writer, speaker, and educator who has spent 25 years developing interfaith and ecumenical projects that explore music’s unique power to explore questions of spirituality in the contemporary world. He has collaborated with the Yale Institute for Sacred Music, Hebrew College (Boston), the International Conference of Christians and Jews, the national conference of the United Church of Christ, the Oxford Interfaith Forum, and many other educational institutions, religious organizations, and churches in the US, UK, and Canada. His writings on music, faith, and theology have appeared in The Christian Century, Sojourners, Books and Culture, and in his column “Alleluia! Music and the Christian Life” on

Case is the founder of Deus Ex Musica, an international organization that promotes the creation and use of contemporary sacred music as a resource for biblical interpretation, practical theology, and interfaith dialogue. As a composer, his music has been performed by over 80 orchestras as well as by Grammy-winning soloists and ensembles across the world. A graduate of Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania, Dr Case is Professor of Music at historic Wheaton College, a secular undergraduate institution in Norton, Massachusetts. In 2024, he will spend Hilary and Trinity terms as a Visiting Fellow at Exeter College, University of Oxford.

Tuesday, 16 May, 2023 - 14:00 to 16:00
Event location: 
Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge

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