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Song of Songs (Old Testament Library) [Hardcover]

By J. Cheryl Exum (Author)
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Item description for Song of Songs (Old Testament Library) by J. Cheryl Exum...

The Song of Songs remains one of the most elusive texts of the Hebrew Bible. In this commentary, Exum treats the Song as a masterpiece of Hebrew poetry within the context of ancient Near Eastern love poetry. With close attention to the nuances of Hebrew language and an amazing sensitivity to how the poetry of desire works, Exum provides a literary and feminist commentary in full conversation with poetic theory and the conventions of gender. The Song of Songs resists closure, operating within a lyric pattern instead of a narrative, and thus develops its own strategy for immortalizing love.

Publishers Description

This original commentary foregrounds at every turn the poetic genius of the Song of Songs, one of the most elusive texts of the Hebrew Bible. J. Cheryl Exum locates that genius in the way the Song not only tells but shows its readers that love is strong as death, thereby immortalizing love, as well as in the way the poet explores the nature of love by a mature sensitivity to how being in love is different for the woman and the man. Many long-standing conundrums in the interpretation of the book are offered persuasive solutions in Exum's verse by verse exegesis.

The Old Testament Library provides fresh and authoritative treatments of important aspects of Old Testament study through commentaries and general surveys. The contributors are scholars of international standing.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Pages   263
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.28" Height: 1.07"
Weight:   0.74 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2006
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
Series  Old Testament Library  
ISBN  0664221904  
ISBN13  9780664221904  

Availability  0 units.

More About J. Cheryl Exum

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! J. Cheryl Exum is Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield. She is Executive Editor of Biblical Interpretation and Series Editor of the Sheffield Academic Press series Gender, Culture, Theory. Her books include Tragedy and Biblical Narrative: Arrows of the Almighty; Fragmented Women: Feminist (Sub)versions of Biblical Narratives; Plotted, Shot, and Painted: Cultural Representations of Biblical Women; and Was sagt das Richterbuch den Frauen?

J. Cheryl Exum has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Old Testament Library
  2. Semeia Studies

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Old Testament
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > Commentaries > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Song of Songs (Old Testament Library)?

One of the best commentaries on Song of Songs available  Apr 10, 2006
I will be offering a longer review of Exum's Song of Songs elsewhere in a scholarly journal (I myself have published on the Song of Songs and teach it regularly in my position at Union Theological Seminary in New York). Nevertheless, in anticipation of that and in response to another review posted, I would just say that this is one of the best commentaries on Song of Songs available now. To be sure, others have offered worthy and provacative theses r.e. female authorship, etc. What Exum provides is exquisite attention to the language of the Song. Where past commentaries tried to nail down the Song to just one meaning, Exum offers here a commentary that consciously and explicitly explores alternatives. That may be frustrating to some who expected a bold single reading, but it is more true to the Song of Song's multiple meanings. In years to come there is a good chance that Exum's commentary on this multivalent book will be seen as a predecessor to a new, more useful form of the commentary genre. This commentary is recommended for anyone working on the Song of Songs, for courses on Song of Songs, and for those who just want an excellent companion as they work through the book -- there are no better choices.
A Pleasing High School Textbook on Solomon's Song  Nov 2, 2005
I will be upfront about this - the Song of Solomon is penetrated
by a profound feminine interiority. Surprisingly, this work
by a recognized feminist biblical scholar resists this understanding. In her earliest writing, Professor Exum
treated the author as male at face value. Quickly learning that this position was untenable, she then took the view that the poem could have been written by a male or female but she would not stake a claim to the sex of the author. Now, in this book, she retreats to the position that feminine authorship is a distant possibility. Curiously, at a time when even conservative Christian theologians concede that (more likely than not) the poet was a women, the position of J. Cheryl Exum makes little sense in light of her other feminist thinking.

Due to her other books, I expected a daring and imaginative analysis. Instead the work is so...mainstream. Its fundamental flaw is that the author never develops a theory that unifies the language of the poem. Marvin Pope and Michael Fox see it as entertainment at love feasts; Andre LeCocque understands it as a protest poem subversive of the prophets; Ellen Davis sees it as
a celebration of the sacred. Renita Weems argues that the Song is a poetic model for individual empowerment. Perhaps it is some if not all of these things. But Professor Exum grasps the Song of Solomon as nothing more than a canonical work of lyric poetry. Even if that were the case, one would expect a translation sensitive to the musical idiom. Instead, her translation is quite pedestrian. Due to the author's studied effort to provide uncontroversial opinion, this work is appropriate to high school as opposed to critical university study.

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