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This book takes the reader on a tour of popular understandings throughout history of the most erotic part of the Bible: the love poem known as the Song of Songs (AKA the Song of Solomon).

Pardes, Ilana

The Song of Songs

A Biography

Series:Lives of Great Religious Books 46

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS

    40,95 € / $47.00 / £37.00*

    eBook (PDF)
    Publication Date:
    2019
    Copyright year:
    2019
    To be published:
    August 2019
    ISBN
    978-0-691-19424-0
    See all formats and pricing

    Overview

    Aims and Scope

    An essential biography of the greatest love poem ever written

    The Song of Songs has been embraced for centuries as the ultimate song of love. But the kind of love readers have found in this ancient poem is strikingly varied. Ilana Pardes invites us to explore the dramatic shift from readings of the Song as a poem on divine love to celebrations of its exuberant account of human love. With a refreshingly nuanced approach, she reveals how allegorical and literal interpretive lines are inextricably intertwined in the Song's tumultuous life. The body in all its aspects—pleasure and pain, even erotic fervor—is key to many allegorical commentaries. And although the literal, sensual Song thrives in modernity, allegory has not disappeared. New modes of allegory have emerged in modern settings, from the literary and the scholarly to the communal.

    Offering rare insights into the story of this remarkable poem, Pardes traces a variegated line of passionate readers. She looks at Jewish and Christian interpreters of late antiquity who were engaged in disputes over the Song's allegorical meaning, at medieval Hebrew poets who introduced it into the opulent world of courtly banquets, and at kabbalists who used it as a springboard to the celestial spheres. She shows how feminist critics have marveled at the Song's egalitarian representation of courtship, and how it became a song of America for Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Toni Morrison. Throughout these explorations of the Song's reception, Pardes highlights the unparalleled beauty of its audacious language of love.

    Details

    272 pages
    8 b/w illus.
    PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS
    Language:
    English
    Readership:
    General/trade;Professional and scholarly;College/higher education;

    More ...

    Ilana Pardes is the Katharine Cornell Professor of Comparative Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the author of Countertraditions in the Bible, The Biography of Ancient Israel, Melville's Bibles, and Agnon's Moonstruck Lovers.

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