On Femininities in the Song of Songs and Beyond
“The Most Beautiful Woman”
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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of Pages: 192
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm
Vita Daphna Arbel uses critical theories of gender to offer an alternative reading of the multilayered conceptualization of the Song of Song's feminine protagonist: “the most beautiful woman”. Arbel treats “the most beautiful woman” as a culturally constructed and performed representation of “woman,” and situates this representation within the cultural-discursive contexts in which the Song partly emerged. She examines the gender norms and cultural ideologies it both reflects and constructs, and considers the manner in which this complex representation disrupts rigid, ahistorical notions of femininity, and how it consequently indirectly characterizes “womanhood” as dynamic and diverse. Finally, Arbel examines the reception and impact of these ideas on later conceptualizations of the Song of Songs' female protagonist with a heuristic examination of Mark Chagall’s Song of Songs painting cycle, Le Cantique des Cantiques. These compositions—selected for their diverse depictions of the Song’s protagonist, their impact on European art, and their vast popularity and bearing in the broader cultural imagination—illustrate a fascinating dialogue between the present and the past about the “most beautiful woman” and about multiple femininities.
This monograph studies "the most beautiful woman" (Song 1:8, 5:9, 6:2), the female protagonist of the Song, using gender criticism and other critical methods ... This is a fine addition to a growing library of scholarly works on the Song of Songs. * The Bible Today *