Journal Article

Biblical love poetry (... and God)

T Linafelt

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 70, issue 2, pages 323-345
Published in print June 2002 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online June 2002 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
Biblical love poetry (... and God)

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Using George Bataille's reflections on desire, death, and God as the basis for considering the love poetry of the Song of Songs as a manifestation of the commingling of separate realms and separate bodies in the service of a longed-for continuity helps us to see that such a commingling is never far from the domain of violence and that such continuity of being is never far from death. But the biblical book itself helps us to see something that is missing from Bataille's analysis -that is, a more complex understanding of the implications of desire for the divine. What if, contra Bataille, God were not 'by definition' immune to risk? What if the divine were not understood to be perfection but, rather, bound as well to the vicissitudes of desire, with all the anguish and ecstasy that it implies? The Song of Song's lyrical presentation of Eros, carried over as it is into the tradition of allegorical interpretation, may, in fact, have rather profound implications for how we talk about God.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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