By Fiona Black
The fanatics' expressions of mutual affection and hope within the tune of Songs comprise intimate and targeted poetic descriptions of the physique. those are not easy to interpret as the imagery used is cryptic, drawing on possible incongruous features of nature, structure and conflict. Biblical scholarship often expresses a few soreness or embarrassment over this language, but mostly continues the view that it may be interpreted certainly as a complimentary and loving description of the physique. If learn with out this hermeneutic, even though, the imagery seems to be to build nonsensical and ridiculous photos of the human shape, which bring up attention-grabbing questions, and pose certain demanding situations, for the Song's readers.
Fiona Black addresses the tricky nature of the Song's physique imagery by utilizing the inventive and literary build of the gruesome physique as a heuristic. The ensuing examining investigates a few matters for the tune which are usually left to the margins, particularly, the Song's presentation of wish, its politics of gender, and the have an effect on of the textual content. The booklet concludes with the identity of a few implications of this interpreting, together with the production of a brand new framework during which to appreciate the relevance of the Song's imagery for its presentation of love.
This is quantity 12 within the Gender, tradition, Theory subseries and quantity 392 within the Journal for the learn of the outdated testomony Supplement series.
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Extra info for The Artifice of Love: Grotesque Bodies in the Song of Songs
He traces the was[f through Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Ugaritic, Hebrew Bible and Qumran texts. The was[f has also been identiﬁed in the Genesis Apocryphon by Goshen-Gottstein (1959: 46–8), but its place in this category is questionable. g. 3; Fitzmyer 1966: 55). These are not comparisons of each part to the kinds of items that we see in the Song’s was[f and elsewhere. See Fitzmyer 1966: 55 for text and 1966: 107–11 for commentary. 17 A brief example is provided by Keel 1994: 24–5: The eyebrows of my beloved / Are like the line of a stylus, drawn with ink, / And the hair of his forehead like the feathers of birds dyed with henna.
Only this: Neglect. (Winterson 1996: 186) Wittig’s and Winterson’s powerful recitations of the body speak to their pursuit of what is not fully attainable. In Winterson’s case, absence is the culmination of loss through illness and, eventually, death. 5 Are these themes illustrative in Hart’s strange ﬁgure scribbled in the Wittenburg Door? Surely what is at stake there is not so grave, but yet, even the cartoon invites the matter of loss into the Song’s midst. Most obviously, it appears to be poking fun at the language of lovers, not to mention at those with more literalistic tendencies in their readings of Scripture.
Most of the work I consider here is quite recent (roughly 30 years old or less), though I do give a nod to allegorical interpretation because of its variety and fantastical nature of interpretations and its problematizing of the body in the Song. Readings will also, however, have particular ways of working with imagery, and in discussing each trend, it will be important to address the strategy of a particular work (if one is evident) and relate it to the others. 26 Allegory formed the primary means of interpreting the Song of Songs up until the nineteenth century,27 and, as a result, there is quite an extensive body of extant material.