This volume draws together a collection of Robin A. Leaver’s essays on Bach’s sacred music, exploring the religious aspects of this repertoire through consideration of three core themes: liturgy, hymnology, and theology. Rooted in a rich understanding of the historical sources, the book illuminates the varied ways in which Bach’s sacred music was informed and shaped by the religious, ritual, and intellectual contexts of his time, placing these works in the wider history of Protestant church music during the Baroque era.

Including research from across a span of forty years, the chapters in this volume have been significantly revised and expanded for this publication, with several pieces appearing in English for the first time. Together, they offer an essential compendium of the work of a leading scholar of theological Bach studies.

part Part I|117 pages


chapter 1|9 pages

Bach’s cantatas and the liturgical year

chapter 2|27 pages

Bach’s music and the Leipzig liturgy

chapter 3|18 pages

Bach’s Agnus Dei compositions

chapter 4|16 pages

Bach’s parody process

From cantata to Missa

part Part II|98 pages


chapter 6|16 pages

Bach and Johann Christoph Olearius

chapter 7|5 pages

Bach’s Christ lag in Todesbanden (BWV 4)

Hymnology and chronology

chapter 8|15 pages

Bach’s Orgelbüchlein

chapter 9|20 pages

Bach and the hymnic aria

part Part III|135 pages


chapter 11|29 pages

Bach and Pietism

chapter 12|26 pages

Bach, Gesner, and Johann August Ernesti

chapter 13|34 pages

Bach and Erdmann Neumeister

chapter 14|20 pages

Bach’s Clavierübung III

chapter 15|24 pages

Bach and anniversaries of the Reformation