Handel’s Messiah & reflections on law

Andrew Mahon (my younger brother), sings professionally at various Anglican and Catholic cathedrals and churches in London, such as Westminster Abbey, and is a member of the UK’s Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

One line of Handel’s great oratorio Messiah prompted some reflections on law, which he’s published in an article:

As we reach the end of “Messiah” season, some concert-goers will find themselves perplexed by one line of text in Handel’s masterpiece, where the alto and tenor sing “the strength of sin is the law.” The libretto of “Messiah” by Charles Jennens is a profound compilation of biblical verses, worthy of study in its own right, and most attentive readers will have no problem formulating at least a superficial understanding of it on a first read-through. The “Messiah” is an oratorio, ostensibly about the life and significance of Jesus Christ (though it only mentions the name of Jesus once and in a movement that is, more often than not, cut from the performance), but many a listener and performer is left unable to make sense of this one line about the law being the strength of sin. But as I sat through my 50-somethingth “Messiah” performance the other night, I fancied that we might find some help in unpacking this from a contemporary, if controversial, personality in Dr. Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto.

Read the rest over at Church Militant.

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