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A moving study of the theology of love in the Hebrew Bible and the foundational emphasis on God's passionate devotion. Focuses especially on how the Song of Songs came to be included in Scripture
A moving study, with wide theological implications, of the theology of love in the Hebrew Bible, and the foundational emphasis on God 's passionate devotion for His people.
Larry Lyke describes in detail a previously unappreciated biblical emphasis: the language and metaphor of love and sexuality is foundational throughout the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament. Armed with this survey, Lyke then focuses on how the Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon) came to be included in scripture. This tender and, at times, rather graphic love poetry, was, from early in its reception, understood as part of the theology of love of the Hebrew Bible. And with the destruction of Israel and the Temple, tradition turned increasingly to the Bible as its primary expression of the love of God for His people. In the midst of deep anxiety over God 's presence and active participation in His people 's welfare, the Song of Songs was included in scripture because it was understood to be the consummate representative of the theology of God 's passionate love, and in it believers could hear the eternal declaration of God 's devotion to and desire for His people. The history of early Jewish and Christian interpretation further shows that the Song of Songs served as the focal point for the lens through which believers envisaged God 's love. In the Song they found the imagery of an Edenic existence free from the travails of history. In the Song they heard the voices of distant lovers longing to be reunited with their Beloved.
This major contribution to biblical theology, then, both surveys the theology of love in the Hebrew Bible, and explains why the Song of Songs was included in the biblical canon: it is the best expression of God 's enduring devotion, and represents a condensed version of, and window on, God 's history of love for His people.
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