Chapter

Reading the Song Iconographically

Ellen F. Davis

in Scrolls of Love

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780823225712
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237067 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823225712.003.0013
Reading the Song Iconographically

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Among the most important questions for biblical interpreters to ask is the question of genre: As what are we to read this text? In the modern period, it was Hermann Gunkel who brought that question to the fore. As he demonstrated, the issue confronts one as soon as the opening pages of Genesis. When it comes to interpreting the Song of Songs, determining the answer to the genre question seems to be the most vexed issue in modern scholarship on the book. What all of these genre identifications (and a number of variations on them) share is the assumption that the Song is in the canon because the rabbis who voted it in had no idea what they were reading. It really is, in large part, about the love that obtains between God and Israel—or, more broadly, between God and humanity.

Keywords: Hermann Gunkel; Song of Songs; genre; love; God; Israel; humanity

Chapter.  5872 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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