This article is a history of interpretation of song of songs.
The author seems to see the various interpretations as necessarily at odds with one another, as if only one can be true at a time. So he doesn’t see that in the Catholic tradition the bride can represent Israel, the Church, the blessed Virgin, the christian soul, AND the literal bride of Solomon. This fragmentation of course leads to major problems in critical interpretation. If you see these levels of meaning as mutually contradictory then you are not at all trying to harmonize them. A good interpretation should address each of the levels and should show how they reinforce each other and how what is true on the literal level helps you to understand what is true on the allegorical level, helps you to understand what is true of the moral or anagogical level…. If the various meanings are at odds with one another then you have a problem with interpretation.
His insistance that one can only read a text on an allegorical or typological level if the text itself or another text in the bible specifically tells you to seems immature and childish. Also a very protestant refusal to allow for tradition. Hasn’t this guy heard of the fourfold method? Why is everything either/or with him?
He seems prejudicial to a Catholic understanding in his choice of the word “supposedly” when discussing the idea of the mystical marriage.
another from the same author: http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/song_tanner.pdf
tight focus on literal level. He reads two lovers: Solomon and the bride. Troubles in the relationship because of his polygamy. But problems with this reading again in trying to draw conclusions from the literal level and read on allegorical and anagogical levels. For the bride should represent Israel/ Church and bridegroom God. If the groom is an inconstant king with a harem the marriage cannot figure the love of God for his people.
Maybe the identification of the groom with Solomon should not be pressed so far? Certainly it represents an interpretive problem.
and here’s a whole bibliography from the same site: http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/song.html
from Terri: http://www.ou.org/chagim/pesach/shir.htm
A Jewish commentary.