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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.
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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