This seminar introduces students to the development of Jewish and Christian biblical interpretation by focusing on ancient, medieval, and modern interpretations of the Song of Songs. Students will encounter a variety of important Jewish and Christian interpreters in English translation, guided by appropriate secondary materials. The Song of Songs is part of Jewish Scripture. It appears to be a collection of poetry on the theme of human love. Studying the developing interpretations of the Song of Songs gives one an unusual opportunity to examine the history of significant ideas in Western culture. The course will touch on issues of gender and religious language, on allegory and interpretation, on mystical and feminist readings of scripture, and on the interplay of the ascetic and the erotic in religion. This course has no prerequisites. The readings will be made available in English. The class will utilize a combination of lecture, discussion, student presentations, reports, close reading, and a research paper.
Section 640 - SEM