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Title: Canonical interpretations of the Song of Songs
Author: Clarke, Rosalind S.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2013
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Traditional interpretations of the Song recognised in it many allusions to the wider canon and used these as the basis of an allegorical reading. The allegorical interpretation has largely been supplanted by dramatic, cultic and literal interpretations of the book, and the focus of scholarship on the Song has shifted towards methodological issues, rather than interpretive paradigms, using comparative studies, ideological approaches and literary analysis. These methods have tended to overlook the canonical context of the Song by focussing on extra-canonical parallels and internal literary features. Without advocating a return to the allegorical interpretation, the canonical approach recognises the significance of the book's canonical status, giving due attention to the literary, theological and ecclesiological contexts which the canon provides. A canonical method of interpretation drawing on literary theories of intertextuality and speech-acts is developed and applied to the Song of Songs. The Song is a particularly valuable test case for this method, since it is found in different contexts within the Jewish, Greek and Christian orders of the canon. The intertextual element of the canonical method is applied to each of these three contexts in successive chapters, with a final chapter analysing the canonical speech-acts associated with each context. It will be shown that the Song is deeply embedded within the canon as a result of a rich complex of literary allusions and theological motifs, and that its interpretation within each canonical context yields coherent yet distinctive results. In each context, the Song is shown to evoke feelings of desire in the reader. This desire is focused on woman wisdom in the wisdom literature context, on the ideal spouse in the Writings, and on Christ in the context of the Christian canon. For the Christian reader, the person of Christ provides the basis for the coherence of these readings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Sola Trust ; Erasmus Fund ; Gospel Partners Trust ; Thomas and Margaret Roddan Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available