Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Comparative Religion

First Advisor

Dr. Brian C. Wilson

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephen Covell

Third Advisor

Dr. Kevin Wanner

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


My research examines the religious nature of certain aspects of American popular music in the late 1960's and 1970's, particularly rock and roll. By analyzing the music and performances of Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison, this study will determine whether or not aspects of their work could be considered "authentically" religious. The purpose of this thesis is to determine if certain cultural artifacts of popular culture can be included in the academic study of religion.

To accomplish this goal, this thesis utilizes typologies and criteria of particular religious phenomenon derived from the theorists Max Weber, Georges Bataille, and Walter Panhke and then determines if the cultural artifacts of rock and roll meet the criteria for inclusion. This paper is designed to increase the variety of phenomena acceptable for examination in the academic study of religion and to create a foundation for future investigation.

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