book reviews 194 © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2002 Biblical Interpretation 10, 2 W alsh , Carey Ellen, Exquisite Desire: Religion, the Erotic, and the Song of Songs . Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2000. Pp. xiv + 245. Pbk $19.00. ISBN 0-8006-3249-4. After centuries of subjection to various allegorical interpretations, the poetry of the Song of Songs has in recent years been literalized with a vengeance. While commentators in the past might take the descriptions of female breasts as referring to Moses and Aaron (who sustained Israel with the Torah as a mother sustains an infant with milk) or the “kisses of his mouth” as referring to spiritual communion with Christ, in reading a book on the Song today one is more likely to encounter references to oral sex and wet dreams. For well over a century now it has been clear to pretty much everyone who reads the Bible at all critically that this poetry is not in fact about God, at least not in a transparent allegorical way, while it is very much about erotic love. So naturally this shift from God to sex in interpretations of the Song is inevitable and is to be welcomed. Yet
Biblical Interpretation – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2002
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