What is the Message of the Song of Songs?

“Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come” (2:12)

I’ve always heard it said that the message of the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) is an allegory between Christ and the church.  Perhaps it is.

“How much more pleasing is your love than wine” (4:10)

But this one thing is clear to me whenever I read Song of Songs: it’s a celebration of romantic love between a man and a woman.

“I belong to my beloved,
and his desire is for me” (7:10)

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2 Responses to What is the Message of the Song of Songs?

  1. Simon says:

    TC, right to read the text both ways in my opinion. And, whilst Church Tradition has seen it as allegory, I think the text can be read in the romantic sense. The Book of Common Prayer has readings from the Song of Songs in the Holy Matrimony service, so it’s certainly true that Christians have traditionally read the text in the romantic sense as well. Of course both interpretations go together, because in marriage you are not simply talking about a legal relationship or arrangement, you are talking about the UNION of man and woman. Just as the Church is to be united to Christ.

    I just hope that conservative Christians in general can finally admit that allegory is a very legitimate way to read the Scriptures, particularly the OT. St Paul uses allegory in a very interesting, and some would say novel, way in Galatians. Allegory has it’s place in Biblical interpretation and this reading can help avoid some of the problems we see in fundamentalist/conservative circles of the evangelical church.

    • TC says:

      Simon, I appreciate your input, especially from a tradition standpoint. Yes, fundamentalists continue to be a problem on these matters, as if to sanitize the text as well.

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