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“I Am My Beloved’s and His Desire is for Me”: The World of the Songs

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Chapter Summary

The Song of Songs, which never speaks of exile or God even as it articulates the yearning of separated lovers who hunger for each other's presence, addresses from an emotional perspective, the experiences and hopes of the Jews of late ancient Palestine, and provides a vocabulary for constructing a powerful and persuasive riposte to the arguments of the outside world, even as the poets create poems that focus the eyes of the community upward rather than outward. Some theories about the original life-setting of the Song of Songs have argued that it was an epithalamium, a wedding song, composed for recitation at human weddings or for use in religious "sacred marriage" rites. The poets yearn, eloquently, for a transformation of the world that will enable their communities to experience life as they know it can and should be.

Keywords: exile; life experience; Song of Songs; wedding song; world transformation



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