06 September 2010

Sep 6

Reference links:
Old Testament

New book means summary day! According to Harris's Understanding the Bible
The only erotic poetry in the Bible, the Song of Songs defies easy classification or interpretations.  Its frank celebration of sexual passion challenges interprets to explain the book's presence in sacred Scripture. Puzzled or embarrassed by the poet's joyous reveling in physical sensuality, many commentators have labeled the work an allegory -- a fictional narrative in which characters, objects, and actions symbolize some higher truth. To Jews, the Song became an allegory of Yahweh's love for Israel; to Christians, it became an expression of Christs's love for his "bride," the church. But to most modern scholars, this collection of love lyrics is precisely what it appears to be: an affirmation of the human capacity for sexual pleasure.
That ancient commentators, both Jewish and Christian, regarded the book as functioning allegorically, however, suggests that the poem's eroticism may have a spiritual dimension.
In short, even if the author of the poem did not mean it allegorically, it has taken on allegorical aspects in practice.

Despite the traditional attribution of the books to Solomon,
Solomon, nonetheless, is not thought to be the author. Some scholars believe that these erotic poems originated as hymns associated with a Near Eastern fertility goddess, such as Asherah, who was married to the god El (in Ugaritic lore) or Baal (in Canaanite tradition). If so, the Asherah-El-Baal cultic elements have entirely disappeared from the extant texts. Other scholars propose that these verses were intended to be sung at country weddings in ancient Israel.
On to the reading! I don't have a ton to say about it. The Song of Songs is very much romantic/erotic poetry. Lot's of lovely poetic imagery, although some of it is less meaningful to the modern audience (such as comparing white teeth to sheep). Given that I am not reading it as an analogy, more something to be enjoyed and commented upon.

New Testament

Today's reading seems to be Paul's attempt to convince the Corinthian church that they can trust all the money they donate to the people he is sending.

Psalms and Proverbs

Today's message from Proverbs: don't rob the poor or exploit the needy. Always a good point to make.