Song of Songs

Richard S. Hess

Song of Songs
Song of Songs

Book Information

Pages: 288
Publisher: Baker Academic
Published: 2005
ISBN-10: 0801027128
ISBN-13: 9780801027123

Reviews

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4.9375 out of 5 based on 8 user ratings
Among the more advanced commentaries written from an evangelical perspective, the work by Richard Hess is probably the most helpful. In addition to careful exegesis, Hess provides insightful reflections on the theology of the book. This is something missing in too many commentaries. Highly recommended. [Full Review]
John Glynn September 20, 2008 5 5
An Evangelical and exegetical study of the Song with an integrated analysis of the Hebrew text, the poetic macro- and microstructure, and the theological significance for the Christian. [Full Review]
Denver Seminary Journal June 16, 2008 5 5
An Evangelical and exegetical study of the Song with an integrated analysis of the Hebrew text, the poetic macro- and microstructure, and the theological significance for the Christian. [Full Review]
The Song of Songs is seductive poetry, making it hard for readers to resist its exuberant unfolding of pleasure, desire, and erotic fantasy displayed in a multisensual atmosphere. J. Cheryl Exum has authored a truly seductive commentary on the Song in turn, a piece so splendidly written that this reader often found it difficult not to succumb to it either. Since succumbing is, however, not the sort of things one is meant to do as a reviewer, and since Exum’s commentary is first of all an eminent piece of critical scholarship, I shall accommodate to academic conventions and serve the legitimate expectations other readers may have when they turn to a review such as this. As it happens, Exum’s book has already been praised by two other, more timely critics (Athalya Brenner and Mark McEntire; see http://bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=4959&CodePage=4959). My comments shall therefore concentrate on aspects not touched upon or less developed by these predecessors. As Exum herself states with fully justified self-confidence, “the present commentary is the first to examine systematically gender differences and the role they play in the presentation of the relationship between the lovers in the Song” (81), and this is one major reason why her book makes such inspiring reading. [Full Review]
Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005. Pp. 285. Hardcover. $29.99. ISBN 0801027128. Athalya Brenner University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, The Netherlands 1012 GC These two new books on the Song of Songs were published in 2005 within a few months of each other. Both belong to the recently debated genre/category of Bible “commentaries,” and both are written by established Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scholars. The target audience of both is primarily the scholarly community. Both are of approximately the same length and affordably priced. And, of course, although they share similarities, they are fundamentally different. In order to present the similarities and the differences, I shall draw a comparative table, listing some of those aspects in general terms and according to relevant parameters. [Full Review]
It is difficult to believe the venerable Old Testament Library commentary series has been around for so long without a volume treating the Song of Songs. This gap has finally been filled by J. Cheryl Exum’s brilliant new volume. One lacuna remains, Jeremiah, while replacement volumes, such as Deuteronomy, Joshua, Isaiah, Proverbs, and Amos, are appearing fairly regularly (John Gray’s I and II Kings appears to be out of print, while a replacement has not yet appeared). Those familiar with Exum’s previous work might expect two qualities, a flawless and concise writing style and meticulous attention to the language and literary structure of the biblical text. Both of these expectations are more than fulfilled in Song of Songs: A Commentary. In these days of critical commentaries that explode in size, a volume like this that comes in at under three hundred pages, front matter included, is most welcome. The eighty-six pages of introduction are dominated by discussion of how the poetry and its language operate. Exum promises that “attention to the Song’s guiding poetic strategies, therefore, forms a major part of this commentary” (3). She labels the Song of Songs as “lyric” poetry (5), which she never fully defines. This designation seems to mean that the poem does not move in a clear linear direction, that it is irregular in its movements (33), and that a sense of narrative development is typically undone by the poem’s “circularity” (45). [Full Review]
Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005. Pp. 285. Hardcover. $29.99. ISBN 0801027128. Athalya Brenner University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, The Netherlands 1012 GC These two new books on the Song of Songs were published in 2005 within a few months of each other. Both belong to the recently debated genre/category of Bible “commentaries,” and both are written by established Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scholars. The target audience of both is primarily the scholarly community. Both are of approximately the same length and affordably priced. And, of course, although they share similarities, they are fundamentally different. In order to present the similarities and the differences, I shall draw a comparative table, listing some of those aspects in general terms and according to relevant parameters. [Full Review]

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