Friday, September 19, 2008

Song of Songs: A Biblical Theology (Ros Clarke)

Modern churchgoers may be surprised to learn that the Song of Songs was once one of the most preached and commented on book of the Bible. Tremper Longman makes the observation that nowadays the Song is rarely taught at all and my own experience reflects this. In over fifteen years of regular churchgoing, I have never yet heard a sermon on the Song and only once heard it taught at all, in the context of a talk on ‘Relationships,’ aimed at students. Longman is rightly concerned by this apparent ‘functional decanonization’ of the Song. In the light of Paul’s claim that ‘All Scripture is... profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness,’ the present situation suggests that the church is missing out.

David Carr links the disuse of the Song with the widespread rejection of allegorical interpretations from the mid-nineteenth century. There have been various methods of interpretation suggested as replacements; that which has gained most support in recent years is the so-called ‘literal’ approach. While there are reasons to reject some of the methodology involved in traditional allegorical interpretations, this study will show that there are good grounds to support their instinctive reading of the Song as an exposition of the divine-human relationship rather than primarily as a reflection on human marriage.

Read the rest of Song of Songs: A Biblical Theology by Ros Clarke at

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