“I Am Black and Beautiful”

André LaCocque

in Scrolls of Love

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780823225712
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237067 | DOI:
“I Am Black and Beautiful”

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In vivid contrast to the prophetic writings, in which eros is employed only in condemnation, the Song of Songs affirms, even revels in, sensual life. In fact, the Song's eroticism is deliberately subversive in its challenge to the institutions of the Hellenistic era, the probable time of its composition. Nothing in the Song bows to convention. At one point, the Shulamite actually boasts about her loss of virtue. In short, the Song of Songs is highly iconoclastic, particularly when it is engaged in provocative intertextual play with such proscriptive or condemnatory sources as Genesis 3 and Hosea 3-4. The most nonreligious text among all biblical documents, it is also the most irreverent. This dialectical quality of the Song—its simultaneous play with flesh and spirit—can place its readers in a highly paradoxical bind.

Keywords: prophetic writing; eros; sensual life; eroticism; Hellenistic era; Song of Songs; virtue; flesh; spirit

Chapter.  4497 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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