Song of Songs

A Close Reading

Series:

This book puts forward an interpretation of the Canticle which is alert to the literal sense of the poem. The author thus distances himself both from the allegorical interpretation and from an interpretation that is purely secular. According to the author, the Song offers a theological vision of human love. Barbiero sees the Song as composed in the third century BC, in the Hellenistic epoch, but also as hugely dependent on the love poetry of the Ancient Near East, particularly that of Egypt. Above all, however, the Song was composed in dialogue with the other books of the Old Testament, especially in contrast with the negative view of sexuality which they represent. The study pays particular attention to the structure of the poem and of the individual cantos: for Barbiero, the Song is a closely unitary work and is only to be understood as a whole.
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Biographical Note

Gianni (Gianguerrino) Barbiero, Ph. D. (1998) Phil.-Theol. Hochschule St. Georgen - Frankfurt, is Professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute of Rome. He has published on the legal texts of Pentateuch ( L'asino del nemico) and on the Psalms ( Das erste Psalmenbuch als Einheit).

Table of contents

Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
1. Position in the canon
2. The text
3. Poetic language
4. Structure
5. Historical-cultural environment
6. The hermeneutical problem

Chapter 2: TITLE (Cant 1:1)

Chapter 3: PROLOGUE (Cant 1:2 – 2:7)
Structure
First Strophe: Dream of Love (1:2-4).
Second strophe: The keeper of the vineyards (1:5-6)
Third strophe: The shepherdess (1:7-8)
Fourth Strophe: Contemplation (1:9-14)
Fifth strophe: The bed in the grass (1:15-17)
Sixth Strophe: Desire (2:1-3)
Seventh Strophe: Union (2:4-7)
Conclusion

Chapter 4: SONGS OF THE BELOVED WOMAN (Cant 2:8 – 3:5)
Structure
Morning Song (2:8-17)
Nocturn (3:1-5)
Conclusion

Chapter 5: CHORAL INTERMEZZO (Cant 3:6-11)
Structure
First strophe: Appearance in the desert (3:6)
Second strophe: The escort (3:7-8)
Third strophe: The litter of Solomon (3:9-10)
Fourth strophe: The day of joy of the heart (3:11)
Conclusion

Chapter 6: SONGS OF THE BELOVED MAN (Cant 4:1 – 5:1)
Structure
Contemplation (4:1-7)
Encounter (4:8 – 5:1)
Conclusion

Chapter 7: NEW SONGS OF THE BELOVED WOMAN (Cant 5:2 – 6:3)
Structure
Separation (5:2-8)
Remembrance (5:9-16)
Love found again (6:1-3)
Conclusion

Chapter 8: NEW SONGS OF THE BELOVED MAN (Cant 6:4 – 7:11)
Structure
Contemplation (6:4-12)
Desire (7:1-11)
Conclusion

Chapter 9: FINAL SONGS OF THE BELOVED WOMAN (Cant 7:12 – 8:4)
Structure
Union in nature (7:12-14)
Union in the city (8:1-4)
Conclusion

Chapter 10: EPILOGUE (Cant 8:5-14)
Structure
First strophe: Set me as a seal upon your heart (8:5-7)
Second strophe: Criticism of the family (8:8-10)
Third strophe: Criticism of society (8:11-12)
Fourth strophe: ―Flee, my beloved‖ (8:13-14)
Conclusion

Chapter 11: EIGHT CONCLUSIVE THESIS

Chapter 12: BIBLIOGRAPHY

Readership

ll those interested in Old Testament and Ancient Near East Literature, Christian and Jewish scholars and pastors, as well as all interested in the theology of human love.

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