Seth Rogovoy, author of Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet, joins a long tradition of people reading whatever the heck they want into the life and works of the elusive musician. (Some people are tired of hearing about him altogether.) Jews have a leg up on this practice—after all, the artist was formerly known as Robert Zimmerman—and in an interview, Rogovoy offers a peek into his process that serves to illustrate some Dylanology basics:

1. If you look hard enough, you will find something: “It involved a lot of dedicated listening over and over again to all of Dylan’s recordings; re-reading fundamental Jewish texts and key guidebooks, including Abraham Joshua Heschel on the Prophets—you read him on the likes of Jeremiah and Ezekiel and just substitute Bob Dylan for the ancients and it totally resonates.”

2. Evidence against your point can always be turned around to support it: “I go to great pains to show how, in fact, the gospel albums are a lot less about the narrator’s belief in Jesus than they are about the narrator’s identification of Jesus with the Jewish prophets.”

3. Don’t speak for the man, he doesn’t like that: “I don’t really pretend to have any insight into what, if anything, Bob Dylan believes in.”

Interview with Seth Rogovoy, author of “Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet” (Part One) [Examiner]