Song of Solomon: Kisses aren’t just Kisses, and Love isn’t just Love

Illustration aus: Das hohe Lied, farbige Orig....
Illustration aus: Das hohe Lied, farbige Orig.-Lithographien von Lovis Corinth, Berlin, Cassirer, 1911 (Pan-Presse) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keel sees Song 1.2–3 pulling from a Ugaritic myth, one of Shachar and Shalim, where the god El bends over two women:

He stooped (and) kissed their lips;
behold! their lips were sweet,
sweet as pomegranate.
In the kissing (there was) conception,
in the embracing (there was) pregnancy.

Bede: But if the breasts of Christ, that is, the source of the Lord’s revelation, are better than the wine of the law, how much more will the wine of Christ, that is, the perfection of evangelical doctrine, surpass all the ceremonies of the law? If the sacraments of his incarnation vivify, how much more will the knowledge and vision of his divinity glorify? COMMENTARY ON THE SONG OF SONGS 1.1.1.

Isn’t it odd that it was easier for them to see this as an allegory that led to further allegorizing a God or Jesus with breasts (El Shaddai, anyone?) than it is to acknowledge the plain sense meaning that the woman in question was doing wild and crazy things to the man’s thoughts?

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11 Replies to “Song of Solomon: Kisses aren’t just Kisses, and Love isn’t just Love”

  1. Ok. Out of curiosity, I googled Song of Songs, plus Origen….to see if I could find some info from a person not interested in sex, for obvious reasons.

    One of the hits was
    http://www.unc.edu/~cernst/sosintro.htm

    Very interesting…I admit I haven’t had time to read the whole thing. The author is a legit scholar. But on a quick scan:

    “In first-century Palestine the Song of Songs was sung in taverns. Yet in the Middle Ages, the love poetry of the text held a deep fascination for monks and nuns.”

    “How are we to explain the fact that the most frequently copied book in the Latin Christian Bible is the one beginning, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth . . .”? What were those nuns and monks thinking when they read these lines, and why was this text so popular? The use of erotic texts by celibates raises larger questions about the experience of becoming the “bride of Christ,” reported by many women Christian mystics. It may be that it was the very forbidden character of erotic love that made it so appealing to those who had renounced it. Erotic and bridal symbolism may have provided a transcendental motivating power, enabling Christian monks and nuns to seek the love of God. In a similar way, Muslim Sufis used the symbolism of forbidden wine drinking as the metaphor for intoxication with divine love.”

    “The third-century Christian scholar Origen wrote three commentaries on the Song of Songs in Greek, the most important of which was in 10 volumes, totaling about 20,000 lines (only part of this survives via quotations in later authors). He attempted to establish the sense of the story underlying the poem; he then applied allegorical interpretation, seeing the entire poem as an expression of the love of God for the church and the perfect human soul. This forms the basis for all subsequent Christian interpretations, and it is the classic demonstration of the allegorical method.”

    So far, I would conclude that water is the thing people fantasize about if they are dying of thirst. Food is the thing people fantasize about if starving. Origen fantasized about…
    Allegory allowed him to read, re-read, and re-read the Song of Songs as an obsession, and have no guilt feelings.

      1. Theologically, Origen represents the case of a tree falling in the woods not making a sound because no one heard it. Some of his theology was controversial. Neither was he sainted — perhaps, in part, because he was a self-maimed eunuch (Deuteronomy 23:1).

        Augustine, although he comes along later, is both less controversial (at lest to the Church) and achieves sainthood. Thus, Augustine is more remembered — or blamed, depending on one’s perspective.

        1. Origen wasn’t made a Saint. His follower, Didymus the Blind, was made a Saint. Is this a case of the Blind leading the Didymus-less? Or perhaps Origen’s Saint Didymus envy? I must be missing something. They were.

          BTW, Jerome said Didymus had the “Eye of the Bride”, in Song of Songs 4:9.

          Ok. Obviously, I am going to Hell!

          1. Of course, in our case, concerning Judging, “25ο»Ώ In THESE days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Or lack, thereof.

          2. 90 degrees out of sync from writing to viewing

            πŸ™‚

            . .
            !

            I feel like I’m in junior high school again!

          3. Coming to grips with the inconsistencies in the Bible and church history can be an education in itself.

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