The Way of Lovers: The Oxford Anonymous Commentary on the Song of Songs (Bodleian Library, MS Opp. 625)

An Edition of the Hebrew Text, with English Translation and Introduction


AutorInnen: Sara Japhet und Barry Dov Walfish
This extraordinary commentary by a late twelfth-century anonymous northern French exegete interprets the Song of Songs solely according to its plain meaning as a story of two young lovers and their developing relationship. The exegete pays attention to every detail of the text, offering many enlightening insights into its meaning, all the while expanding upon the “way of lovers” – the ways that young people in love go about their lovemaking. The French background of the exegete is made clear by numerous references to knights, coats of arms, weapons, chivalry, and of course, wine drinking. The edition is accompanied by an English translation and extensive introduction which analyzes the various linguistic, literary, and exegetical features of the text.

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Sara Japhet, Ph.D. (1973), Hebrew University of Jerusalem (emerita) was Professor of Biblical Studies at that university. Her most recent books are The Commentary of Rabbi Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam) on the Song of Songs (2008) and Collected Studies in Biblical Exegesis (2008).
Barry Dov Walfish, Ph.D. (1983), University of Toronto, is the Judaica Specialist at the University of Toronto Libraries. His most recent books are Bibliographia Karaitica: An Annotated Bibliography of Karaites and Karaism (2011) and The Bible Retold by Jewish Artists, Writers, Composers, and Filmmakers (edited with Helen Leneman; 2015).
''Man muss den Herausgebern für die Erschließung eines faszinierenden Dokuments der Auslegungsgeschichte danken. Die üblichen Indizes sowie hervorragende Photographien des Manuskripts aus der Bodleian Library beschließen die Studie''. Anselm C. Hagedorn in Zeitschrift für alttestamentliche Wissenschaft , 131 (2019).

All interested in medieval biblical exegesis, Jews in Northern France, their culture and history, and the history of interpretation of the Song of Songs in particular.