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Chapter Summary

The Song of Songs forms part of the canon of inspired books in both the Jewish and Christian traditions. Explicit quotations of the Song are absent from the other books of the Old and New Testaments. This introductory chapter presents the position in the canon, poetic language, structure, historical-cultural environment, and the hermeneutical problem of the Song of Songs. The text of the Song of Songs follows the Hebrew (MT) as closely as possible. The undeniable difficulty in interpreting the Song of Songs is due to the poetic character of the book. The question of structure is closely connected to that of literary genre, those who uphold the dramatic genre clearly presuppose the unity of the text even if, on this account, they have to introduce elements foreign to it. The chapter also presents some background considerations in order to account for the hermeneutical choice implied in this exegesis.

Keywords: Christian tradition; dramatic genre; Hebrew text; Jewish tradition; Songs of Songs



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