New book reveals extent of the musician’s fascination with scriptures of Judaism and Christianity

“She tied you to a kitchen chair, she broke your throne and she cut your hair, and from your lips she drew the Hallelujah…” No one hearing these lyrics from the song Hallelujah could doubt that Leonard Cohen knew how to write and sing about love, sex and desire. But fans of his music could be forgiven for not realising exactly what he was trying to convey about religion and the intricate references he was making to biblical stories, Talmudic legends and the Mishnah, a third-century Jewish text.

Now, an analysis of Cohen’s work sets out to reveal how extensively the revered songwriter used both Christian and Jewish stories and imagery to express ideas in his songs.

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