Article

Song of Songs

J. Cheryl Exum

in The Oxford Handbook of English Literature and Theology

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199544486
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199544486.003.0016

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Song of Songs

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The Song of Songs, the Bible's only love poem, contains arguably the most lyrical poetry in the Bible. Nowhere else can one find such rich, sonorous, and sensuous vocabulary, such densely metaphorical language, such vibrant and striking imagery, such imaginative flights of fancy, and such freedom from formal poetic conventions, except perhaps in Deutero-Isaiah and Job. In the Song, couplets and triplets display little of the regularity or balance that are the hallmarks of ancient Hebrew poetry. Rather, they seem to rush forward, spilling over each other, as though impelled by the desire they communicate. Unlike the lyricism of Deutero-Isaiah and Job, the Song's erotic lyricism seems to exist purely for the pleasure of the reader.

Keywords: lyric poetry; Song of Songs; Bible; Hebrew poetry; Job; erotic lyricism

Article.  8155 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Religious Studies

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