Patterico's Pontifications


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 78

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,Music — Patterico @ 7:00 am

It is the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany. The title of today’s cantata is “Jesu, der du meine Seele” (Jesus, You, who are my soul).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 1:21-28.

And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,

Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.

And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. The first chorus echoes the theme of the Gospel reading, describing Jesus rescuing the writer’s soul from “the devil’s dark pit”:

Jesus, You, who my soul,
though Your bitter death,
out of the devil’s dark pit
and the heavy anguish of the soul
have powerfully rescued,
and have let all this be known to me
through your delightful Word,
be now, o God, my treasure!

The theme runs throughout the cantata, which is quite beautiful.

The chorale tune — heard as a passacaglia in the opening chorale and more straightforwardly in the final chorale — is based on the hymn by the same name (“Jesu, der du meine Seele”) by Johann Rist. Here is a piano version of the tune, with sheet music on the video portion so you can follow along.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

11 Responses to “Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 78”

  1. The real insight in that passage was the demon possessed man
    had been in that synagogue for years.

    narciso (d1f714)

  2. Sorry. Wrong thread

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  3. What a great way to start a Sunday morning! Thank you.

    Jim Shaffer (11af91)

  4. Thank you, Patterico.

    The lesson I take from the demoniacs, this and the Gadarene, is that the demons believed in Christ yet nonetheles rejected Him regardless of the consequences.

    nk (9651fb)

  5. 1. Just shows you how little psychiatry has advanced in 2000 years.

    5. A first century audience would not limit the term “unclean spirit” to devils. It might also include spirits of the dead and the entitied Arabs call djinn and Jews call shadim (long lived but mortal entities created out of air, fire, or water who were usually hostile to humans)

    Kishnevi (b8bd53)

  6. Who is up for a chicken playing an aria?

    Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”

    papertiger (c8116c)

  7. I sincerely thank you for your series of Bach cantatas.

    Ross Gallup (c895c2)

  8. Wrong thread? Wrong blog.

    phunctor (bf276f)

  9. I sincerely thank you for your series of Bach cantatas.

    Thanks for saying so. I am having fun posting them.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  10. Yes thanks patterico.

    As is referenced in Luke 8, the gadarene were not impressed with the result of their given up stock of hogs, yes one could interpret the second possessed as suffering some unclear dsm manifestation.

    narciso (d1f714)

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