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12

Wiktionary claims turtle is an old word for dove (thus the term turtledove), derived from the Latin onomatopoeia turtur. Thus, in the language of the day, turtle did indicate the bird. See also Dictionary.com.


8

Different ancient translators had different translation philosophies. Some were very rigid and always used Greek word X for Hebrew word Y. Others were more dynamic. We can actually use these philosophies to determine when different translators are responsible for different books. For example, the Greek of Numbers is very literal (except the name of the ...


6

The "less messianic" reading is rather prosaic - it's just a reference to a bridegroom. The cultural context is a wedding song. In the Israelite and later Jewish tradition, the guests at a wedding celebration are obligated to praise the beauty of the bride to the groom and his family, and conversely to the bride and her family, and all this, even when the ...


4

The traditional interpretation of the Song of Songs assigns the female speaker to be Israel and the male speaker to be Yahweh. So the author of the Vineyard song must have interpreted 2:1 to be the words of Yahweh. However, the commentators are divided over whether the man or the woman is the speaker. My guess (and it can only be a guess) is that the ...


3

I appreciate the question. I think it stems from some wrong presuppositions, though - namely, that sexual "love" is strictly within the domain of eros rather than agape. I agree that sexual love can be eros, but it is not the exclusive owner of it. In fact, all pure, other-centered love is agape. This applies just as much to the sexual arena as anything ...


3

Yes! A considerable portion of the text is explicitly sexual and much of the rest lends itself to rich sexual imagery. The particular verse quoted in the question uses the image of a fruit tree to describe the beloved. Both are unique among their fellows in terms of the fruitfulness and the delight they offer to the bride. While there are many ways a man ...


3

The concept of finding strong sexual undertones to every romantic poem may be a more recent intellectual pursuit based on Freudianism. Though he may have never really said it, ‘sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.’ One can easily tell from the tenor of the Old Testament that what occurs under the coverings of the marriage bed, or the thoughts of what might ...


2

The romantic scene at which your question arises is when the couple is coming up out of a wilderness to the place that was the woman's home, near a fruitful apple tree. She come up with her arm in his and her head in his chest. She never wants this posture to end, that is under his protective care, so she imagines herself forever like this by having her ...


1

Your question poses an either/or choice where there are, in fact, many intermediate possibilities. An editor could have taken a collection of love poems and edited them, with allegorical or other intent. The editing could easily have introduced the linking themes. A single author might have intended a poetic conceit in a cycle of love poems. The idea of ...


1

The traditional allegories are anachronistic. So, if you accept the text as a product of human effort, it's not one of them. I'm unaware of anyone who has ever argued that it was written (in the ordinary sense) by a person intending an allegory -- that is, an allegory that made sense to someone reading at the time. The Christian version wasn't going to ...


1

I am sure there are many ways to read these references, if this is what you wish to do. Apparently this was originally an operetta. Although this poem is attributed to Solomon, the language and style indicate that it was actually written after the end of the Babylonian Exile. The Song of Solomon tells the sexual experiences and thoughts of a black or ...



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