In late 1978 Dylan himself was busy being born again. His widely-publicized conversion to Christianity made him perhaps the most famous Jewish apostate in American history. Suffering from a painful divorce, a tiring world tour and too much alcohol, Dylan began looking for answers. He found one:
"There was a presence in the room that couldn't have been anybody but Jesus. I truly had a born-again experience, if you want to call it that.... It was a physical thing. I felt it all over me. I felt my whole body tremble."
Pressed into vinyl as the slick
"I told you the times they are a-changin' and they did. I said the answer was blowin' in the wind and it was. I'm telling you now Jesus is coming back, and He is! And there is no other way of salvation."
The followup album,
But Dylan's evangelical phase didn't last long. His third "Christian" album, included such departures from fundamentalism as "Lenny Bruce," a paean to the Jewish comedian.
More importantly, he had begun to synthesize his old vision with the new light. The results ranged from the soaring religious poem "Every Grain of Sand" to a trio of surrealistic songs left off the album but included on the
Chapter 5: Lubavitcher or Jokerman?