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Song Of Solomon

The Song of Solomon, also known as the Song of Songs, is the fifth Christian testament. There is little evidence as to who wrote it, and more to the point, when and why. The main answers to these questions are assumptions drawn from the language, and an analysis, of the text.

Structure

The book does not have a singular plot but it does have a structure, which is shown through the links between the beginning and the end. A deeper analysis has led to differing opinions into its chiastic structure; that is its patterns and literary technique.

There is a debate on the style of the Song, and whether it is a single poem or an anthology. The Song is shown to have abrupt shifts in science, poetic voice, content and mood. However, it also has repetitions’ and similarities as well as an underlying conscious design. As a result the answer to the question remains unresolved.

Language

As the origin of the poem is unknown, critics drawn conclusions from an analysis of its language. The syntax and vocabulary points to the late date in the 6th century CE, centuries after King Solomon’s time to whom the Song has been traditionally attributed to. There is seen to be an influence of Mesopotamian and Egyptian love poetry, as well as parallels between a Greek poet who existed in the beginning of the 3rd century BCE.

The conflicting signs have led to a range of time, from the 10th to the 2nd Century BCE; however, there is more evidence supporting a later date then an earlier one.

Judaism and its approach

Despite the poem being seen as part of Christianity, it has held a part in Jewish history. The Song was accepted as a part of Jewish canon scripture inthe 2nd Century CE by Rabbi Akiba; who was reported to have said that the “Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies”

In modern times, it is read during the Passover on the Sabbath; as an allegory for the relationship between God and Israel, and therefore is seen as depicting God’s love for Israel.

Christianity

The Christians have not denied the Song’s canonicity. However, unlike Jewish interpretations it was seen as a depiction of God’s love for the Church. This view of the Song has only grown more complex over time, with multiple layers being added to the analysis of the poetry. In the 11th century a moral element was added, while in the 12th century the Bride began to be depicted as the Virgin Mary. The change in approach, over the centuries, has led to a range of commentary’s; with each one absorbing new, more complex ideas.