Translating Eros

Chana Bloch

in Scrolls of Love

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780823225712
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237067 | DOI:
Translating Eros

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“Kiss me, make me drunk with your kisses! Your sweet loving / is better than wine”. The great love poem that begins with these words does not follow the conventional romantic plot: boy meets girl, boy and girl get acquainted, boy proposes marriage. That the two are already intimate is clear from the very first words of the Song of Songs. Love, not marriage, is what they propose, and the woman, who is called the Shulamite, does most of the proposing. She, in fact, is the one who issues that first urgent invitation. Although the Song was in all likelihood composed as a poem about erotic love, the rabbis read it as an allegory about the love of God and the people of Israel. This interpretation, along with the attribution to King Solomon, helped the Song to survive the final cut of the canon makers. The Church Fathers in turn read the Song as a loving dialogue between Christ and his bride, the church.

Keywords: love poem; erotic love; allegory; love of God; people of Israel; King Solomon; Song of Songs; Christ; church

Chapter.  4431 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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