Song of Songs commentaries (offlist!)

Peter Kirk Peter_R_Kirk at
Sun Dec 15 06:00:26 EST 2002

Thank you, Baruch. I am passing this on to my friend by blind copy, and
with a copy to the list as you suggested.

Peter Kirk
peter.r.kirk at

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ruthy & Baruch Alster [mailto:alster at]
> Sent: 15 December 2002 17:10
> To: Peter Kirk
> Subject: FW: Song of Songs commentaries (offlist!)
> Shalom Peter!
> I tried sending this to the list twice last week, but it didn't get
> through,
> so I'm mailing it directly to you.  If you can, please try forwarding
> to
> the list for me.
> Thanks
> Baruch
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ruthy & Baruch Alster [mailto:alster at]
> Sent: Thursday, December 12, 2002 9:33 PM
> To: ListManager-admin at
> Subject: Song of Songs commentaries
> I sent this out a few days ago, but I see it hasn't found its way to
> list yet.  So let's try again...
> Shalom Peter!
> Sorry I'm late on this one.  Just back from a few weeks of reserve
> (about the only drawback to living in the Holy Land...).  In recent
> my dissertation topic has changed from Biblical narrative to Song of
> exegesis (the main reason I haven't had time to write to the list in
> months), and I would like to add a few comments.
> 1.  Does your friend read medieval or modern Hebrew?  There are many
> traditional Jewish commentaries, from the 11th century (Rashi,
> pseudo-Saadia) until the present.  Most are only allegorical (the
> types of SoS allegory parallel the Christian types), a few are only
> simple-sense, and many are both.  Most of these commentaries -
> those worth writing home about - are in Hebrew.  Unfortunately, almost
> have yet to be translated into English.
> A vast majority of these works see SoS as a unified whole, within a
> narrative framework.  Usually, the narrative has two main characters:
> either
> the king (or a shepherd) and his bride, or a divorcee yearning for her
> estranged husband (e.g. Rashi).  However, Malbim (Poland-Romania, 19th
> cent.) succeeded in bringing the three-character theory into Orthodox
> Judaism, and a handful have viewed SoS as a collection of related
> Theologically, many commentators grapple with the problem of erotic
> literature in Scripture.  Most of these minimize the erotic content of
> book, even when dealing with its simple sense(e.g. Ibn Ezra). Others
> Rashi) seem to take this content in stride, some even praising
> love
> as worthy of being a parable for divine love (e.g. Joseph Carlebach's
> German
> commentary).
> I will be happy to supply more specific bibliographical data if
> Kol Tuv,
> Baruch

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