Song of Songs
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Arguably the biggest blockbuster love song ever composed, the Song of Songs holds a unique place in Jewish and Christian canons as the "holiest" book, in the minds of some readers, and the sexiest in its language and imagery. This commentary aims to interpret this vibrant Song in a contemporary feminist key, informed by close linguistic-literary and social-cultural analysis. Though finding much in the Song to celebrate for women (and men) in their embodied, passionate lives, this work also exposes tensions, vulnerabilities, and inequities between the sexes and among society at large-just what we would expect of a perceptive, poignant love ballad that still tops the charts. From the Wisdom Commentary series Feminist biblical interpretation has reached a level of maturity that now makes possible a commentary series on every book of the Bible. It is our hope that Wisdom Commentary, by making the best of current feminist biblical scholarship available in an accessible format to ministers, preachers, teachers, scholars, and students, will aid all readers in their advancement toward God's vision of dignity, equality, and justice for all. The aim of this commentary is to provide feminist interpretation of Scripture in serious, scholarly engagement with the whole text, not only those texts that explicitly mention women. A central concern is the world in front of the text, that is, how the text is heard and appropriated by women. At the same time, this commentary aims to be faithful to the ancient text, to explicate the world behind the text, where appropriate, and not impose contemporary questions onto the ancient texts. The commentary addresses not only issues of gender (which are primary in this project) but also those of power, authority, ethnicity, racism, and classism, which all intersect. Each volume incorporates diverse voices and differing interpretations from different parts of the world, showing the importance of social location in the process of interpretation and that there is no single definitive feminist interpretation of a text.
"Rabbi Akiba claimed that All the world is not worth the day that the Song of Songs was given to Israel' (Yadaim 3:5). Spencer reaffirms that claim. With scholarly insight into the text, sensitivity of gender issues, and a clever yet respectful use of language, he provides a commentary faithful to the principles of this remarkable series. The contributing voices add an interesting layer to the interpretation of this poem that champions human love."Dianne Bergant, CSA, Catholic Theological Union "F. Scott Spencer has written a fresh and lively commentary on the Song of Songs, befitting the biblical book's own celebration of love and desire. Spencer offers a rich, careful discussion of the Song's gendered imagery as well as its resonances with contemporary feminist concerns. Brimming with insights on the weighty delight of sexual yearning, Spencer's commentary is uniquely sensitive to the Song's portrayal of embodied existence and its consequences for relating to the others in society and the natural world surrounding us. He offers a commentary fully conversant with the scholarship and attuned to the pressing contemporary concerns about sexuality and the environment."Dr. Carey Walsh, Professor of Theology and Old Testament, Villanova University "F. Scott Spencer has written a commentary on the Song of Songs that is not only thoughtful and illuminating but, dare I say it, thrilling! He brings a biblical scholar's depth of expertise to analyzing and interpreting the workings of the poetry and a feminist scholar's attention to the complexities of gender issues and their relationship to justice and equity. He never loses sight of what it is that makes the love poetry of the Song of Songs finally so compelling, namely, that love rules us all and we wouldn't have it any other way."Tod Linafelt, Georgetown University
1-2 Timothy, Titus
Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah
Haggai and Malachi
John 1-10, 44
Philippians, Colossians, Philemon