Friday, August 17, 2018

The Song of Songs

The Song of Songs has always been controversial in some circles. To some degree it retained its canonical status through the auspices of the allegorical interpretation. The motivation for the allegorical interpretation is the dubious that it would be unfitting for Scripture to celebrate erotic love in such sustained and uninhibited terms.

Some people would probably prefer that it never made its way into the canon. Yet if Scripture didn't include a book like that, we'd have a dualistic piety in which, on one side, we have a rather monastic biblical piety and on the other side, a sensual imagination and carnal lifestyle outside of Scripture. Given the centrality of erotic love in human experience, the Bible would be very defective if it failed to acknowledge that, and not just in abstract terms, but unashamedly concrete terms. Finally, despite the provocative imagery, it's very artistic depiction of sexual passion.

Finally, at a time when heteronormativity is under relentless attack from the queer lobby, the trans lobby, and their straight enablers in the liberal establishment, as well as the cautionary tale of mandatory celibacy in the Catholic priesthood, the Song of Songs has never been more opportune as an inspired testament to the heterosexual paradigm of erotic love between man and woman.

The Song of Songs needs to be supplemented by other Biblical stressing marriage as the proper outlet for sexual longings. Yet it makes an essential contribution to the overall package. 


  1. In The City of God Augustin argued for its canonical status but he didn't make this kind of argument.

    His argument is that all scripture points the way to, and in a real sense is therefore about Christ and that the allegorical interpretation is therfore the most sensible.

    I'm on the fence. My contemporary common sense says the allegorical interpretation is piety hokum. However, I do find Augustin's argument compelling.