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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Yearning for You: Psalms and the Song of Songs in Conversation with Rock and Worship Songs
Goodman, William

Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2012 pp. xii + 268. $100.00

Series Information
The Bible in the Modern World, 46

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Description: ‘From your lips she drew the Hallelujah’ (Leonard Cohen). Romance and sexual desire are expressed in some of today’s most popular songs using religious language. Conversely, the latest Christian worship songs sometimes invite worshippers to speak to God in the language of desire and romance. Contemporary western culture and spirituality blur the boundaries between desire for God and sexual desire. This innovative book stages a conversation first between biblical songs and then between biblical and contemporary songs. Desire for intimacy is the topic of conversation. Texts from the Song of Songs are first in dialogue with some of the Psalms, exploring their themes of desire, absence, longing, hearing, delight, feasting, physicality, mutuality and security. The circle of conversation is then widened, to consider the voices of contemporary rock and worship songs in the light of what has been uncovered in the biblical songs, and to hear what questions today’s songs may ask of the ancient texts. The biblical voices resist any suggestion, Goodman argues, that human sexual experience may be a means of encounter with God, or a sacrament of such an encounter. They also highlight the disparity in power between God and human beings which weighs against any sense of a balanced mutuality in yearning. Yet eros or romance may serve as a metaphor for a divine–human relationship, if used alongside a variety of other metaphors. At points of intersection, where they converge and conflict, these different metaphors can create a deeper understanding of the yearning for intimacy, both human and divine.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Writings, Song of Songs, Literature, Methods, Other Methods, Psalms

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Review by T. Michael W. Halcomb
Published 6/20/2014
Citation: T. Michael W. Halcomb, review of William Goodman, Yearning for You: Psalms and the Song of Songs in Conversation with Rock and Worship Songs, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2014).

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