A Two Thousand Year History of the Influence of Song of Songs on Religion, Literature, Music, and Art

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This work presents the wide range of influence of the ‘Song of Songs’ on world culture. It demonstrates the long history of confrontation of the immense number of allegorical interpretations with secular (literal) commentaries. This book contains twenty-four black and white photographs and twelve color photographs.


“[T]his is a bold attempt to show how the beauty of the Song has enhanced culture throughout the ages, bringing light into even those dark periods of history which he himself has experienced.” – Dr. John D. Baildam Newbold College

“Dr. Horowitz has written a compendious, encyclopedic account of the ‘Song of Songs’, covering every phase of its massive and rich history. . . . From now on this is where research on the Song of Songs will commence.” – Prof. Jacob Neusner, Bard College

“This extremely informative and thorough study, at the crossroads of western and eastern cultures represents a valuable and important contribution to the mutual understanding of Jewishness and Christianity, and invites us to a continuing dialog.” – Prof. Michaela Christine Hastetter, Universität Freiburg

"... provides a welcome contrast to modern methods of data compilation and presentation. Moreover, in its selfless survey of the work of others, it is a humble gift whose form and function will be appreciated by those who love the Song so much that, despite the evidence of all that has gone before, will remain compelled to create and promulgate their own individual responses." -- Prof. Stephanie Rocke, Monash University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. John D Baildam
Shir Ha’shirim Asher L’Shlomo (Hebrew text)
The Song of Songs by Solomon (English translation)
1. History of the Song of Songs
Early Jewish Sources
The Origin and Authorship
Confrontations between Allegorical and Literal Interpretations
Oldest Known Writings
Variants and Translations
2. Jewish Commentaries on the Song of Songs
The Song and the Tanakh
Early Jewish Commentaries
The Prominent Place of the Song in the Kabbalah
Further Jewish Commentaries in the Middle Ages
18th-19th Centuries Jewish Commentaries
Contemporary Jewish Religious and Philosophical Commentaries
The Song in Jewish Tradition
3. Christian Commentaries on the Song of Songs
References of the Song in the New Testament
Early Christian Commentaries
Christian Commentaries in the Early Middle Ages
The Song in the Marian Cult and the “Black Madonna”
Further Developments of Christian Commentaries
Contemporary Christian Commentaries
Reviews of Modern Christian Commentaries on the Song
The Song Reflected in Muslim Mystical Traditions
4. Literal Commentaries on the Song of Songs
Comparisons of the Song with Ancient Love Poetry
Early Literal Interpretations
Modern Literal Commentaries on the Song
Imagery and Metaphors in the Song
Linguistic and Structural Analyses
Translation Problems of the Song
Feminist Criticism and Contemporary Literal Commentaries
5. The Song of Songs in Poetry and Prose
Christian Medieval Love poetry and the Song
Hebrew Medieval Love Poetry and the Song
Love Poetry of Early Middle Ages and the Song
The Song in the Literature of the 16th-18th Centuries
The Song in the Literature of the 19th Century
Contemporary Literature and the Song
6. The Song of Songs in Music
The Song in Jewish Musical Tradition
The Song in Christian Musical Tradition
The Song Expressed in Motets, Masses, and Polyphonic Music
The Song in the Musical Compositions of the l6th-l7th Centuries
The Song in the Music of the 18th Century
The Song in the Classical Music of the 19th Century
Shulamite Chanted in Musical Compositions
The Song in Oratories
The Song in Opera, Ballet, Theater, Dance and Folk Songs
The Song in Contemporary Music
The Song Expressed in the ‘avant-garde’ Music
7. The Song of Songs in Art
The Song in Jewish Pictorial Tradition
Early Christian Artistic Representations of the Song
The Song in the 12th Century Christian Art
Illustrations of the Song in the Middle Ages
Early Printed Illustrations of the Song
The Song Illustrations in Tapestries, Sculpture and Stained Glass
The Song in the Art of the 18th-19th Centuries
The Song in the Contemporary Art
The Song Representation in Erotic Art
Art Techniques in the Illustrations of the Song
Contemporary Issues Illustrated Through the Song
8. The Song of Songs in Events of Everyday Life
Christian Sources
Jewish Sources
Art and Literary Sources
Movie Productions
Women and Marriage Issues
Musical Discography of the Song of Songs

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