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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Song of Songs
Spencer, F. Scott

Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2017 pp. lxiv + 252. $39.95

Series Information
Wisdom Commentary, 25

Description: Arguably the biggest blockbuster love song ever composed, the Song of Songs holds a unique place in Jewish and Christian canons as the ďholiestĒ 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 largeójust 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 Godís 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.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Writings, Song of Songs, Literature, Methods, Ideological Critique, Feminist Approaches, Womanist Approaches

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Review by Laura Quick
Published 5/28/2020
Citation: Laura Quick, review of F. Scott Spencer, Song of Songs, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2020).


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