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How Song of Songs Became a Divine Love Song

In: Biblical Interpretation
Authors:
Jonathan Kaplan The University of Texas at Austin, USA

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Aren M. Wilson-Wright Universität Zürich, Switzerland

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Abstract

The origin of the interpretation of Song of Songs as a description of God’s relationship with God’s beloved community has been a persistent question in the work’s history of interpretation. Earlier scholarship has provided a number of possible solutions to this problem, none of them conclusive. This article offers another possible answer: the language and imagery of the Northwest Semitic combat myth in Song 8:6-7, which identifies love with Yhwh as the victorious divine warrior, triggers the work’s interpretation as a divine love song. This argument receives support from some of the earliest allusions to Song of Songs in Revelation, which interpret Song of Songs in the context of apocalyptic discourse that likewise draws heavily on the combat myth.

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