book reviewed in Catholic Bible Quarterly: TREMPER LONGMAN III, Song of Songs (NICOT; Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2001). Pp. xvi + 238. $35
The reviewer, Athalya Brenner, said the book treats the text as literary unity, not an anthology, with one man and one woman. says is sensitive to Hebrew. The reviewer then excoriates the book for it’s interpretaion:
The ��metaphor�� of God�s marriage with his ��people,�� or with ��us,�� has been criticized for decades by feminist scholars, but their views receive no attention in this commentary. It is as if they had never spoken or written their minds.
As far as I’m concerned Brenner’s condemnation is a good sign. She evidently wants her biblical exegesis with no taint of theology:
If the Song of Songs (to distinguish the text from its interpreters) has a ��theology���and that is doubtful in spite of the allegorical traditions�it can hardly be a theology of marriage or a theology of a certain Christian viewpoint. To claim this position as scholarship to the exclusion of other scholarly views, while ostensibly using these same views, is totally different from directing reflections on the Song of Songs at pastors and priests or at members of a congregation. Subjecting an erotic poem to institutional (matrimonial) love, or love for the divine, is beyond the pale of Judaism�s famous dictum, ��The Torah has seventy faces.�� It falsifies the text in favor of the interpreter�s extrabiblical needs. It subjects instead of honoring; it appropriates. Regardless of my own personal beliefs, I find such practice improper.
Well, I for one do not. This may be exactly the kind of book I’m looking for.