Dylan’s “Jokerman,” Scripture, and The Human Condition
To be considered “evil,” do we have to actively contribute to corruption in the world or is our passivity enough to make us complicit? When do we become Infidels? Who do we caution against the neglect of responsibility? How can songs be used to warn the listener?
One of the most fascinating and influential artists of the 20th century is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Emerging from the American mid-West as a disciple of folk singer Woody Guthrie and incorporating influences as diverse as Charley Patton and T.S. Eliot, Dylan was a major force in altering the way in which music is approached and understood in popular culture. Achieving a similar cultural currency as the untouchable Beatles, Dylan combined poetic ideas with the previously rudimentary craft of lyricism, bridging the gap between folk authenticity and popular appeal in the process.
In an illustrious career spanning over four decades, the elusive Dylan has undergone some dramatic transformations. From his beginnings in folk music in the early 60’s to his shift to rock in the mid-60’s to the evangelism of the late 70’s to the brooding and nostalgic albums of today, Dylan changes public identities with frequency. In spite of his transformations over the years, there is a sense of thematic consistency in Dylan’s vast body of work.
Themes of transcendence, social responsibility, and upheaval are found in each period of Dylan’s ideological trajectory. Assuming by turns the role of artist, prophet, jester, penitent, and self-conscious celebrity, Dylan the man and Dylan the artist remain intriguing studies. Like his artistic forebears Dante and Eliot, Dylan portrays the sacred and the profane in their interconnected complexity. One song in the Dylan catalogue that clearly exemplifies this complexity, while defying any simple interpretive scheme is the song “Jokerman. ”
The Middle Years
Written in the middle of his career for the album “Infidels, ” and featuring the understated guitar work of Mark Knopfler, this song typifies the complex, subversive, and elusive polemic of Dylan’s best work. Like so many great works of art, it defies any simplistic imposition of meaning.
Much ink has been spilt in an attempt to fix the identity of the Jokerman. Instead of offering yet another attempt at fixing the identity of this character, assumed to be portrayed throughout the song, the aim here is to explore the themes touched upon in the song and the portrait that emerges upon close examination. Through the use of imagery and symbolism culled from the Bible and mythology, Dylan presents the contrasts of the human condition: corruption and community, divine judgment and redemption, damnation and transcendence.
In understanding any work of Dylan’s, it is important to place it within the context of his greater body of work. The release of “Infidels ” came at a critical juncture in Bob Dylan’s artistic career. During the tumultuous 1960’s, Dylan had emerged from the folk scene, becoming a spokesman for his generation, due in large part to the albums “Bringing It All Back Home, ” “Highway 61 Revisited, ”Â and “Blonde On Blonde.” Dylan managed to articulate the confusion, defiance, and desires of a generation coming of age, providing touchstones for the rising 1960’s counterculture. It is here that Dylan solidified his stature as a cultural icon, and all subsequent work would be measured against this period.Â
In 1967, Dylan was injured during a motorcycle crash and became reclusive during recovery. Although this period would yield the prolific Basement Tapes with the help of The Band, this material was released much later, while most of his albums during these years were panned by critics and received lukewarmly by fans. Only his 1975 album “Blood on the Tracks ” was heralded as a return to form. Whatever its musical merits, the melancholic album was believed to be largely written out of the pain of loss following the artist’s divorce to wife Sara. For the remainder of the decade, Dylan’s work bore the strong imprint of pain and loss, until Dylan had what he himself called a “born-again experience. ”
The “Born Again” Period
Toward the end of the 1970’s, Dylan’s work reflects an embrace of orthodox Christianity, as he is reported to have connections to the evangelical Vineyard Fellowship. From “Slow Train Coming ” to “Saved, ” and finally “Shot of Love, ” references to Christ, God, and the Christian faith are incorporated into his songs. In concerts, he went so far as to preach at his audience, referring to Hal Lindsay’s rendering of Armageddon in his book. This so-called born again period in Dylan’s career with its didactic sermons were decried by fans and critics alike.
Prior to the release of “Infidels, ” Dylan is reported to have studied under a group of Hasidic Rabbis in Brooklyn called the Lubavitchers, delving into his Jewish roots, and making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It is inferred that Dylan re-embraced his own tradition, Judaism, in favor of Christianity. The difference between this and the three previous albums provides fuel for such inference.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
It is within this context that the album is released. Dylan scholars and critics alike scrutinize the lyrics, which contain frequent reference to the Old Testament, the state of world politics, and Israel in particular. Gone are the admonitions of “You Gotta Serve Somebody, ” the spirituality of “Shine Your Light On Me, ” and the penitence of “Every Grain of Sand. ”
The Meaning of “Jokerman”
On Infidels, Dylan is less direct, his lyrics more elliptical, his role closer to that of poet than preacher. The seminal track “Jokerman, ” is used to support assertions that Dylan has exclusively embraced Judaism, integrated his Jewish roots with his Christian faith, or that he arrogantly identifies himself as a Christ figure. The character of Jokerman in the song is rigidly identified by turns as Christ, as Anti-Christ, President Reagan, and Dylan himself. While there are frequent references to biblical passages, both Old and New Testament, Christ, the Apocalypse, and, perhaps Dylan himself, the song is much broader in scope than many interpretations suggest.
The difficulty in interpreting the song is that, much like Eliot, Dante, and Biblical authors before him, Dylan manages to present a multilayered, polyvalent work. One plausible stance is that the song’s Jokerman is an everyman, whose portrayal in the chorus is pitted against the backdrop of contrast and tension in the world, including suffering and evil, using the biblical imagery of the End Times. In this light, the song, however elliptical, is in line with Dylan’s frequent preaching on stage, as he did so about individual responsibility and accountability during his tour in 1979-1980. The polyvalence and intricacy of meaning provided in this song becomes evident upon detailed examination.
Part of the difficulty in examining the song, however, is the use of the simple word “you. ” It is unclear whether Dylan is addressing the Jokerman, the listener, a Christ-figure, a political leader, or someone else entirely. It is also possible that different characters are addressed alternately. This shifting perspective of the song has precedent in Dylan’s earlier work, such as “Tangled up in Blue ” and “Changing of the Guard. ”
The ambiguous use of the word “you ” also has literary precedent, most notably in T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. ” In this poem, Eliot portrays Prufrock as morally flawed character with an inability to establish a connection to society through indecision and inaction. For Eliot, this failure to act constitutes a moral failure causing fragmentation and isolation for the individual. So it may be with Dylan’s Jokerman, who, although fully aware of suffering and exploitation in the world, shows no response.
The biblical allusions in “Jokerman ” are many, including both Old and New Testament. In some cases, the allusions are clear cut. In others, they are ambiguous. The song recalls accounts of figures such as Moses, David, Daniel, and Jesus. Like Dante in his Divine Comedy, Dylan includes pagan imagery in his work as well, adding another layer of meaning by combining the Christian and the secular.
The themes touched on in the song include truth, freedom, beauty, suffering, and finally, damnation and transcendence. In it, Dylan seems to be wrestling with the human condition itself. Whether the song constitutes social commentary, mere introspection, or a kind of prophecy remains conjecture. What we are left with is a presentation of the tension that exists in the world and man’s struggle within that tension.
Analysis of “Jokerman” Through Scripture
The ambiguity begins in the first line of the song: “Standing on the water, casting your bread, / while the eyes of the idol with the iron head are glowing. ” While the immediate association is that of Christ walking on the water, it is unclear who the figure is. It is possible that it is a simple introduction of a Christ-figure into the song, but more likely that Dylan is establishing the territory of the song: religious language.
This immediate use of biblical allusion lends both gravity and familiarity to the material. It is also possible that this allusion is to Peter who failed in his attempt to meet Jesus on the water. (Mt.14:28 -31) The potential for either allusion provides a means of connection between the sacred (Christ) and the earthly (Peter), whether or not either is singularly intended. Â Â
The phrase “casting your bread ” can be seen as a reference to Ecclesiastes 11:1: “Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days. ” This is usually interpreted as an urging toward acts of kindness that will eventually be repaid, a biblical version of “what goes around comes around. ” It can also be seen as an allusion to Christ, who refers to Himself as the “bread of life ” (John 6:35).
If this is true, then “casting your bread ” can be seen as a condemnation, as the character is not partaking of it, but casting it aside instead neglectfully. Yet another way to interpret this line is based on a passage in Revelation from which much of the song’s imagery is drawn. An angel explains to St. John the Divine the meaning of the Whore of Babylon who sits on many waters: “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages ” (Rev. 17:15).
In this case, Dylan may be referring to his attempt to preach the gospel, to throw the bread of life upon the water, while they pay heed to idols. In either case, the language is not only biblical, it is apocalyptic, the language of confrontation and provocation.
Although the Bible is fraught with references to idols, no specific allusion seems to be intended here. Rather, the existence of some active evil force is juxtaposed with the human agent, perhaps unaware of its existence, in line one. The idol may represent money, war, power, or any variety of human indulgences. It is possible that this constitutes an inversion of the idol in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, as detailed in Daniel 2, with its head of gold and legs of iron.
This could be seen as Dylan assuming the role of Daniel, pious interpreter of the signs of God, warning of imminent danger with similar apocalyptic imagery. “Distant ships sailing into the mist / You were born with a snake in both of your fists, while a hurricane was blowing. ”
One interpretation of the reference to ships in line three is derived from the reported location at which Dylan wrote the song: “‘Jokerman,’ written on his schooner, Water Pearl, has the same ‘distant ships,’ (as ‘Caribbean Wind’) on this occasion ‘sailing into the mist,’ presumably never to return. ” The implication here is one of finality, perhaps in reference to the End Times.
The image could also refer to King Solomon’s trading ships, sent out to appropriate wealth (1Kg. 10:22). This is in keeping with the socio-economic and socio-political criticism throughout the album, and, if taken in a negative light, is in line with Dylan scholar Tim Riley’s assertion that “‘Jokerman’ is a squinting slur at the Reagan Presidency. ”
Yet another interpretation connects this line to Daniel 11:30-32, a prophecy about warfare. Given the tensions in world affairs, both with Israel and its neighbors, and the Cold War tensions of East and West at the time the song was written, this line seems to point toward a processing of this tension using the code of biblical language.
This points toward the larger methodology used by Dylan throughout his career, as touched on by biographer Clinton Heylin: “Dylan looks to deal with his life in code, and when the code is too easily broken, he feels compelled to reconfigure it. ” In this light, the line, the song, and Dylan’s artistic practice itself is one of processing the world in which he finds himself in a coded language. Whether this processing is of internal struggle, such as is presumably the case in many of the songs in “Blood on the Tracks, ” or a processing of external tension, which is at least in part the case in “Jokerman, ” this description of “processing in code ” provides a means of understanding Dylan’s methodology.Â
The next line can also be interpreted in a variety of ways. One possible reference is to a Late-Minoan Snake Goddess, a Great Mother figure, depicted in a statuette holding two snakes in the Jokerman video. Another possible interpretation is based on the Greek myth of Heracles, to whom the goddess Hera sent two snakes to devour while in his crib. The infant hero crushed both snakes even as a child. The pagan Heracles has been connected with Christ in early Christian literature, as both figures embody the connection of the earthly to the divine.
If Dylan identifies himself as a kind of Christ-figure, as he does in earlier work, this could also be a reference to himself, as perhaps he sees himself as born to uncover deception, the traditional meaning of the snake symbol. The hurricane reference is also unclear, although one author interpreted this as the Jewish Holocaust, the period during which Dylan was born. Â
In the next lines, Dylan makes a distinction between freedom and truth, or between true and false freedom: “Freedom, just around the corner from you / But with truth so far off, what good will it do? ” The great Russian novelist Dostoevsky makes a similar distinction in The Brothers Karamazov. In his prose poem, Dostoevsky’s character Ivan depicts a conversation between Christ and The Grand Inquisitor, in which he argues that people do not want true freedom, or free will — they want happiness.
This means that people gladly relinquish their freedom to some other power, for Dostoevsky, the Roman Catholic Church, for Dylan, perhaps government, perhaps pursuit of economic gain, perhaps self-indulgence. In both cases, true freedom, or what Augustine called “metaphysical freedom, ” the freedom to embrace moral responsibility, is relinquished in favor of a false freedom, in which one is “free ” from responsibility, to indulge other pursuits.
Put another way, true freedom comes with an awareness of the value of community with God and others, values reflected in one’s choices and actions, while false freedom constitutes mere self-pursuit.
Throughout “Infidels ” Dylan displays an awareness of the importance of community and responsibility on a global scale. In “Sundown on the Union, ” he decries the exploitation of Third World workers and laments Israel’s isolation in “Neighborhood Bully. ” This supports the assertion that the value of community is also addressed in “Jokerman, ” albeit through image and symbol.
The chorus recalls one of John Keats’ most famous poems “Ode to a Nightingale, ” as well as Greek mythology: “Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune / Bird fly high by the light of the moon / Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman. ” Â In Keats’ ode, the poet finds a hypnotic beauty in the nightingale’s singing, while the “Queen-Moon is on her throne. ” The speaker lets his imagination wander, and is brought back to reality by recognizing he is “forlorn, ” wondering if he now sleeps or wakes. Here, the nightingale symbolizes beauty, in particular, beauty as vehicle into the imaginary realm. Yet this beauty can be seen as a kind of distraction from reality or opiate.
In Greek mythology, the tragic figure Philomela is turned into a nightingale by the gods who take pity on her. It is questionable whether Dylan had either of these references in mind specifically, but he is grounded in a literary tradition in which the nightingale symbolizes both pure beauty and tragic beauty. In the context of the song, then, perhaps the Jokerman is distracted from the apocalyptic portents, preoccupied with pleasure and self-pursuit, not heeding the warning signs. The act of dancing implies a celebration of this beauty, a foolish act in light of the danger described in the song. Â
In the next verse, Dylan seemingly addresses Christ, the Jokerman, and then himself in succession. In each case, however, the address is simply “you, ” and none of these addresses are necessarily fixed or exclusive. Dylan scholar John Henry argues the line “You rise up and say goodbye to no one ” relates to Christ’s resurrection in the gospels. This seems to be an incomplete picture, yet each reference in the song is oblique and incomplete, so that each remains pliable. The lines “Shedding off one more layer of skin / keeping one step ahead of the persecutor within ” can be seen as Dylan referring to his own transformation over the years, or the everyman listener and his evasion of responsibility.
The next line seems to refer to a spiritual authority figure, whether Moses, a prophet, Christ, or the Holy Spirit: “You’re a man of the mountains, you can walk on the clouds / manipulator of crowds, you’re a dream twister. ” It has also been suggested that the reference in the second line is to an Anti-Christ figure. The image recalls worldly leader like Hitler, given the negative connotations of the word “manipulator, ” but also seems to contain images commonly associated with the narratives of holy figures. Here, Dylan may be wrestling with the mystery of the incarnation, by combining in one line both the sacred (Christ) and the profane (Anti-Christ).
It is this containment of opposites that provides a sense of tension throughout the song. It is also possible that this underscores the identity of the Jokerman as everyman, whose identity is to be located somewhere between the holy Christ and the anti-Christ. Certainly, the portrait in the song is one of both good and evil, beauty and horror, with the all too human Jokerman of the chorus perhaps unaware of the possibility of either transcendence or damnation.
A shift occurs in the next lines: “You’re going to Sodom and Gomorrah, but what do you care, / ain’t nobody there, would want to marry your sister. ” Here, Dylan goes back to the Old Testament, to the account of Moses, who traversed the cities of the plain, including Sodom and Gomorrah, and who passed his wife off as his sister in Egypt (Gen.12:10-20).
In an attempt to trace Dylan’s references to self in the song, Larry Yudelson contends that this passage symbolizes Dylan’s state in America, the modern Sodom and Gomorrah, and that nobody would want to marry Dylan’s sister, a Jew, suggestive of Dylan’s own alienation. Such narrow and selective interpretation seems to be a projection of the author’s own desire to see Dylan return to the orthodox Jewish fold instead of taking into account the greater context of the song. In any case, the portrayal here is one of wandering and either appropriate or inappropriate rejection.
Again, there is a contrast between the sacred, symbolized by the family bond, also the foundation of community, and the profane and sinful cities Sodom and Gomorrah, places in which community has been corrupted. The reference to these cities also recalls scenes of destruction, as God finally punished these cities for their sinfulness with fire. This, in turn, connects with the apocalyptic imagery and sense of coming judgment throughout the song.
Lines twenty-three and twenty-four recall the narrative of Christ in the Gospels. Dylan refers to Christ as “Friend to the martyr, a friend to the woman of shame ” (Acts 7:54-60; Jn. 8:3-11). Here, the focus is on the grace and forgiveness of Christ, rather than wrath and judgment. The next reference is to the parable of Lazarus the beggar from the Book of Luke, in which Christ subverts human notions of wealth, placing the beggar in heaven and the rich man in hell after death. Here again, Dylan touches upon themes of transcendence and damnation. The emphasis on “fiery furnace ” here stands in contrast to the focus on redemption in the previous line.
The next verse begins with another connection between the sacred and the earthly, as “the Book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, / The Law of the jungle and the sea are your only teachers. ” Leviticus and Deuteronomy are the most legalistic Books of the Hebrew and Christian canons, while the jungle and the sea could both be taken as examples of realms subject to the natural law, survival of the fittest.
The sea could potentially be a symbol of the collective subconscious, as posited by Jung, or perhaps constitutes a reference back to the waters in the first line, symbolizing the peoples of the earth. In either case, the focus is on the tension between the divine law and an earthly, or human law. The address here is also purposefully ambiguous and provides yet another contrast, depending on who is being addressed.
The address could be to Christ, Jokerman as everyman, or the Jews, for whom Jesus’ death has little significance, save the proof that he was not the Messiah. The deliberate ambiguity of this address suggests that to attempt to fix the Jokerman’s identity, as many have attempted, is to miss the message of the song. The contrast and the tension, here as elsewhere in the song, is between covenant community, preserved under Mosaic Law, and the corrupted and fallen natural world, in which self-interest reigns.
Â The first line of verse four refers to the apocalyptic vision of Christ, on a “milk-white steed ” (Rev. 19:11-13). The reference to Michelangelo recalls the sculpture of David, as does the next line “resting in the fields / far from the turbulent space. ” While the reference could also be to Christ, it is likely that both are intended, thus connecting the earthly and divine yet again. Another contrast in this verse is between the image of destruction of the returning Christ, come to judge and punish those who stand against Him, the sublime art of Michelangelo, and the peaceful final line, “far from the turbulent space. ”
The reference to Michelangelo and resting in the fields suggests the image of David as well, who embodies both peace and war, as David was both shepherd and warrior. The compounding use of contrast in the song seems to be the point. The times are difficult, or “slippery grey ” as Dylan later sings, fraught with tension, between decision and inaction, between corruption and community, between judgment and redemption, between damnation and transcendence.
The next two verses make the clearest references to the apocalypse and the End Times, begun in verse four with Christ returning on his white horse. In verse five, “the rifleman’s stalking the sick and the lame, / preacherman seeks the same, who’ll get there first is uncertain.” The rifleman executing the sick and the lame is a clear portrait of horror and suffering, while the preacherman provides a contrasting salvific presence.
The Human Condition As Depicted in “Jokerman”
The uncertainty shows the tension of the human condition, while the juxtaposition of the rifleman and the preacher continues the seemingly endless string of contrasts within the song. It is unclear whether or not Dylan truly believes the biblical End Times are imminent, whether he sees the world situation in terms as dire as those depicted in Revelation. In any case, the sense of tension within the song is undeniable.
The next lines further connect the unrest of the world situation at the time the song was written to biblical prophecy: “Nightsticks and water canons, teargas, padlocks, / Molotov cocktails and rocks, behind every curtain. ” These modern symbols of the use of force, of conflict and corrupted community connect the biblical warnings to Dylan’s twentieth century context.
The next line echoes Isaiah 59:4-6 and continues the criticism of modern society, with “false-hearted judges, dying in the webs that they spin. ” The final line suggests the outlook is not “uncertain: ” “Only a matter of time, ‘til night comes stepping in. ” Here, Dylan steps out from the oppressive tensions and contrasts that loom throughout the song to make a definitive statement. This verse is laden with images of corruption and lack of community. Instead of being bogged down with theological tension, it is the everyman’s responsibility to recognize and counteract this corruption within the world.
Perhaps, finally, the song is a condemnation of the lack of responsibility and initiative to counteract such corruption both in the world and in ourselves.
The final verse of the song is perhaps its bleakest, drawing solely from the imagery in Revelation. The line “it’s a shadowy world, skies are slippery grey ” states more directly what is depicted in the previous verse. The word “slippery ” reminds the listener that truth is difficult to discern given the tensions in the world and inherent in our existence, as detailed throughout the song. In a sense, the song itself, its meaning elusive and multilayered, embodies this slippery world to which Dylan refers here.
The final lines of the verse refer to the Anti-Christ: “A woman just gave birth to a prince today, and dressed him in scarlet. ” This connects directly to the portrayal of the birth of the Anti-Christ in Revelation. The next lines suggest the means of the rule of the Anti-Christ: “He’ll put the priest in his pocket, put the blade to the heat. ” Here, the warning is of corrupt clergymen, and, if “the blade ” can be seen as the two-edged sword of Scripture, (Rev.1:16) against the abolishment of divine truth by secular powers. Then he’ll “Take the motherless children off the street / and place them at the feet of a harlot ” (49-50). The picture is one of exploitation, of corruption of innocence.
The final lines buttress the argument that Dylan’s criticism here is directed at inaction, lack of defiance of such corruption, whether literally a fulfillment of biblical prophecy or not: “Oh, Jokerman, you know what he wants. / Oh, Jokerman, you don’t show any response. ” This lack of response constitutes a moral failure and is the fullest indictment thus far of the Jokerman. In the chorus, the Jokerman seems blissfully preoccupied. Here we are told he is fully aware of corruption. In reference to the Anti-Christ figure, Dylan says “you know what he wants. ” The results of the Jokerman’s moral failure are further evident later in the album, through the depiction of continued exploitation of the poor, and the lack of intercession to aid Israel.
The Jokerman is an infidel, who fails to live up to his moral obligation to counteract corruption in a world admittedly in tension. Perhaps another clue lies in the very word “Jokerman. ” If Christ is the ultimate human, providing an example of sacrifice for the sake of community, then the Jokerman, or joke of a man, is the opposite. He is, in effect, an Anti-Christ. Although not actively contributing to corruption in the world, his inertia and passivity are equally negative, while his awareness of the evil being exacted makes him complicit.
Throughout the song, Dylan uses biblical imagery, culled from various books of the Bible to present a vision of reality, of tension and contrast. The essential tensions portrayed are between community and corruption, judgment and redemption, damnation and transcendence. Dylan alludes to Christ-like grace and to the suffering in the world brought about by the Anti-Christ. Against this backdrop, Dylan sets the ineffectual and unaffected Jokerman.
It is possible that Dylan recognizes himself here, or perhaps world leaders. Given the concerns of social justice, human connection, and biblical allusion throughout the album, however, it is likely that Dylan’s address here is to everyone, including himself. The message that emerges from a close examination of the lyrics is a warning against the neglect of responsibility. Looking for a kind of freedom, the freedom of the pursuit of self-interest, we neglect the truth of responsibility. We neglect our responsibility to community. We become Infidels.
The use of the word “you ” to address characters resembling Christ, Peter, Moses, and the Anti-Christ suggests the differing potential inherent in the human condition. There is potential for transcendent sacrifice, like Christ, and there is potential for failure, like Peter, there is potential for evil, like the Anti-Christ, and there is potential for neglect, like the Jokerman.
Like much of Dylan’s work, this song can be seen as social criticism, as career retrospective, as a statement of faith, as a warning to the listener, an exploration of Scriptural truth, and evangelical proselytizing.
Part of the genius of the song is that it can be all of these. The polyvalence and interwoven imagery establish a kind of fulcrum for Dylan’s moral stance, self-regard, and his faith, with the respective backdrops of myth and biblical literature. Here, as elsewhere, Dylan shows the potential for music as art, as vehicle for truth, instead of mere emotional identification. If contemporary lyricism can be seen as an elevation of colloquial language, Dylan shows that contemporary songwriters can also use their lyrics to present familiar, ancient language of Scripture and myth in ways both fresh and relevant, in a sense updating the timeless truths of Scripture into the context of their world.
Marc Thomas Shaw is an award-winning author and instructor focusing on the contemplative path as a means of inner transformation. A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary with an MA in Theology and The Arts, Marc currently serves as the Executive Director at Contemplative Light, an interfaith organization of contemplative teachers and practitioners.
He is the author of the bookÂ Dante’s Road: The Journey Home For The Modern Soul, winner of a 2020 Illumination Book Award in Spirituality. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International, and a part of the Ignatian Spirituality Project in San Diego.
1 thought on “Dylan’s “Jokerman,” Scripture, and The Human Condition”
What a marvelous discussion! I very much appreciate your research and thoughtfulness in demystifying such a perplexing and weighty song.