We have a difficult time in reading Song of Solomon. We can easily gloss over Ruth and Esther and they way they got their positions, but Songs is a different animal. This week (24-28 Aug 15) I will focus on Song of Solomon both on the blog and on Facebook. I will attempt to update this page with the posts and Facebook conversations.
It is in line with the basic affirmation of creation, especially of man and woman, as good (Genesis 1). It also harmonizes with the sages’ understanding of sex as portrayed in Prov 5:15–19, and in Prov 30:18–19 (“the way of a man with a maiden,” a great mystery). In the rest of the Bible marriage is usually viewed from a social point of view, the union of families and property, and the importance of descendants. In the Song sexual love is treated as a value in and for itself.
The Song is hot, sensual, and sexual. It is filled with a building erotica and orgasimic bliss. And it is often interpreted at allegory for God and Israel (or Christ and the Church). There are several layers of interpretation, none really wrong – but each layer should be used for different reasons, with the others not ignored.
After all, while I find it blushingly odd that we would use this book as a symbol between God and Israel, the writer of Ephesians had no issue using the symbol of marriage for Christ and the Church.
…the modern view, especially from the 17th century on, is that the Song deals with human love. But for centuries before this, the common understanding of the Song was that it described the love of God and God’s people. There is extraordinary agreement between both Jewish and Christian tradition on this point.
So, sit in a dark corner by yourself and hide from the eyes of the world. Read it only for the articles.
- Can sex and marriage be metaphor?
- St. Cyril of Jerusalem (and more) on how not to read the Song of Solomon
- Kisses aren’t just kisses, and Love isn’t just Love
- Does Song of Solomon argue with Genesis 1-3 about human sexuality?
- Can Sex and marriage be metaphor?
- Michael Goulder on the Song of Solomon
- The “best” books on Song of Solomon
- Song of Solomon memes