The American-Jewish singer Bob Dylan was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature for ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,’ according to the Nobel Prize description. Born as Robert Allen Zimmerman, known as Bob Dylan and lovingly called ‘The Bard’ is the 15th Jew to win the literature prize.
Looking into the 75-year old singer’s take on religion proves interesting: In a 1997 interview with Newsweek, Dylan told David Gates, “Here’s the thing with me and the religious thing… I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don’t find it anywhere else. Songs like “Let Me Rest on a Peaceful Mountain” or “I Saw the Light” – that’s my religion. I don’t adhere to rabbis, preachers, evangelists, all of that. I’ve learned more from the songs than I’ve learned from any of this kind of entity. The songs are my lexicon.”
Still, Dylan is famous for his pro-Israel anthem ‘Neighborhood Bully’, he held a Seder with Marlon Brando, played the ‘Hava Nagila’ at a Chabad telethon and celebrated his son’s bar mitzvah at the Western Wall.
As the Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, said, his work is comparable to those of the ancient Greek poets Homer and Sappho and called Dylan a ‘great poet’.