The Song of Songs and Divine Eros

It might surprise many Christians to know that for nearly a millennium, the Song of Songs (aka Canticles, aka Song of Solomon) in the Old Testament was perhaps the single most important book of scripture. There are more medieval commentaries on this book than any other book in the Bible. Modern readers find this especially strange since there is no explicit message of God, divine law, moral imperatives, or any other “obvious” sign of its religious nature. In fact, modern biblical critics characterize it as a secular love poem that was included in the canon simply because it was attributed to Solomon, not because of its content.

Mormons are likely especially surprised by the importance of the Song of Songs because Joseph Smith was famously skeptical of its place in the canon. The first footnote in the LDS version of the Bible indicates: “the JST manuscript states that ‘The Songs of Solomon are not inspired writings.’” Joseph was not alone in the history of Christianity and Judaism to wonder what an erotic love poem was doing in the Bible. At the same time, this wonder also provided the background for the rich allegorical explanations of the Song.

The reason that the Song of Songs was so popular and important had to do with the allegorical method, the reigning hermeneutical approach to scripture from Origen to the Reformation. The literal meaning was secondary, if relevant at all, to proper interpretation of the Bible. Today, the allegorical method has completely fallen out of favor except in a few limited circles. Yet, there was a time when the “problems” of scripture were seen as the great opportunities for revealing the mysteries of God.

While today deacons read the Song of Songs for cheap thrills (btw, I recommend a modern translation rather than the KJV which Victorian-izes much of the language in order to soften the eroticism), there was a time when the erotic message symbolized the relationship between God and the believer. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote over 80 exegetical sermons on the text and never got past the third chapter. In a world where celibacy was the highest form of devotion to God, eroticism was the principle way of expressing that devotion.

My question is whether or not Mormons can find any value in the Song of Songs. Are we stuck with the literalist hermeneutics of modernity, or does the allegorical method have some value? Also, does the erotic have any place in Mormon understandings of divine love and love for the divine? I wonder when Joseph made his statement about the Song. (My hunch is that it was early in his career and that he wouldn’t have said the same thing after 1842, but I haven’t researched early Mormon use of this text.) Though I have known some Mormons who have torn it out of their scriptures, I wonder if we are not short-changing ourselves by ignoring this text and thereby missing out on a depth of interpretation and experience that our previous Christian brothers and sisters saw.

  • http://notapostate.blogspot.com Bored in Vernal

    I wrote about it’s value to me in my post “Singing the Song of Songs.”
    There’s also a post on the subject by Ed Snow at BCC “Just How Uninspired is the Song of Solomon?”
    Thank you for this post.

  • http://feastupontheword.org/User:RobertC Robert C.

    Good points, TT—I’m with you, I think it can be read allegorically in a rather profound way.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Thanks Robert! I do wonder though, if legitimizing allegorical readings is a good idea. I am okay with it when people are aware about the limitations of this approach and acknowledge that it isn’t the “true” meaning, but I worry that this doesn’t always happen.

  • http://notapostate.blogspot.com Bored in Vernal

    Hmm, I never had to await moderation before when commenting on FPR–am I persona non grata here?

  • http://notapostate.blogspot.com Bored in Vernal

    Oh, must be the links–sorry I’m so impatient.

  • http://ldstalk.wordpress.com/ Dando

    My wife and I based our whole wedding service on Song of Songs. I think it’s a really important book in the Bible because it celebrates sex and marriage and keeps aestetics (sp?) from teaching total sexual abstinence. It’s not so much about God as it is about what God thinks of sex (it’s GREAT).

    SoS also helped us keep our hands off of one another “Do not awaken love until it so desires.”

    You can listen to part of a great sermon series on SoS here:
    http://www.rockharbor.org/resources/messages/mp3s/2004-02-15.mp3
    and
    http://www.rockharbor.org/resources/messages/mp3s/2004-02-22.mp3

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Sorry about the delays for those comments with links! I didn’t even realize they were there until you said something!

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Dando,
    You’re comment reminds me that this text plays an important role in evangelical sex manuals too! It is interesting that the text is appropriated “literally” for certain modern purposes as well such as the positivity of nuptial erotics.

  • http://withinthebubble.blogspot.com Steve M

    I do wonder though, if legitimizing allegorical readings is a good idea. I am okay with it when people are aware about the limitations of this approach and acknowledge that it isn’t the “true” meaning, but I worry that this doesn’t always happen.

    TT, could you elaborate on this idea? I’m wondering how allegorical readings of scripture are less “true.” Perhaps there are some scriptures that weren’t meant to be read literally (note, however, that I’m not suggesting that the Song of Solomon is one of them).

    Great post though. I would like to see the Song of Songs used more widely within the Church. I’m all for more positive messages about eroticism in the Church.

  • http://ldsgospeldoctrine.net Kurt

    The Song of Solomon is poo. Why any serious student of the scriptures would waste time studying or writing exegesis on it is beyond me, especially when there are texts like the OT prophets around that really are worthy of every spare moment we can invest in them. SOS compared to Isaiah is just a joke.

  • http://withinthebubble.blogspot.com Steve M

    Kurt,

    I’m sorry that you think the Song of Solomon is “poo.”

    For what it’s worth, it’s quoted in the D&C a few times. Song of Solomon 6:10 is quoted in D&C 5:14, 105:31, 109:73, for instance.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Kurt,
    Vanilla ice cream is so much better than chocolate!

    Steve M,
    You raise an interesting point, though I am not sure how it is that we can know how a scripture was “meant” to be read. To be clear, I am not defending a single “true” meaning of any text. Rather, I think that all readings should recognize their limitations. That said, allegorical readings seem to have more limitations than others. I think that I am concerned about the arbitrariness of allegorical readings. These readings are certainly very creative and often extremely inspiring, yet at the end of the day, there doesn’t need to be any struggle with the text. It’s meaning is always deferred.

  • Kurt

    Steve M,

    It is poo, whether there are fragmentary quotes in the D&C or not. That changes nothing. Bird droppings contains seeds that can sprout into fruitful plants. That doesnt mean I am going to eat it. The text is salacious drivel entirely devoid of prophetic content. Only the most active imaginations can read any religious meaning into those texts.

    The notion of erotica in the church makes reason stare when people cannot even understand and live the basics of what Jesus taught, as contained in the Gospels. But, hey, sure, lets just skip all that and move right onto an-depth discussion of lurid text and parse out every possible innuendo, in church, instead of reminding people they ought to be living and doing what Jesus taught. Badda-bing.

    TT,

    If you think comparing Isaiah to the Song of Solomon is a debate over tastes, then I would like to point out your vanilla is tofutti and my Chocolate is Haagen Dazs.

  • http://eatingwell.wordpress.com/ Sam B

    Kurt,
    A minor threadjack, but if the best you can come up with is chocolate Haagen-Dazs, your ice cream palate desperately needs expansion. And I’m not talking Ben & Jerry’s.

  • Kurt

    Sam B,

    OK, Mr. IceCreamPants, wax epicurean on us all. And if you say Coldstone Creamery, I will smack you. Hard.

  • g.wesley

    on somewhat of a sidenote, does the fact that joseph smith only seems to have denied the scriptural status of this particular book mean that he believed in/affirmed the scirptural status of everything else in the bible (like the johannine comma); and should lds then seek to defend the inspired prophetic authorship of books like 2 peter (through appeals to ‘innocent pseudepigraphy’) or just understand that he might have been wrong?

  • http://eatingwell.wordpress.com/ Sam B

    Kurt,
    No worries about that. There are a couple really good little ice cream places (cash only) in Old Town Alexandria on King Street. Pops is pretty good, but I really like the ice cream at the little place across the street (whose name I’ve never looked at, and I can’t get it on Google).

    Of course, that doesn’t do you much good if you’re not in the D.C. area; generally, my favorite supermarket brand is Ciao Bella. They have an amazing mint-chocolate chip that tastes like mint leaves, not like mint extract, and some great fruit flavors. They have a really good hazelnut. I assume their vanilla is good, but I have trouble paying real money for vanilla (although I love vanilla, and really should try it).

    A lot of restaurants have a great ice cream or gelato on their desert menus; we recently went to a Greek/Turkish place with an amazing scoop of cherry ice cream along with my wife’s dessert; I had Turkish Delight for dessert, and, although the ice cream was great, I can’t remember what it was (I’d meant to write up the meal, but real life got in the way).

    My ice cream turning point, though, was probably the mint ice cream at Nine-Ten. I don’t know how it compares to Ciao Bella–there was probably a one- or two-year gap between trying Nine-Ten’s and Ciao Bella’s–but it was a palate-opening experience.

    And someday I’m going to get a modern translation of the Songs of Solomon, but I haven’t plowed through it in the KJV or otherwise up until now.

  • http://eatingwell.wordpress.com/ Sam B

    Oh (and sorry for the continued threadjack; I’m done on ice cream after this for now, but on a 95-degree day in DC, there are few other things to think about): Ronnybrook Dairy (I believe) sells perhaps the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten. It’s a small dairy in New York, and I could only buy their ice cream at the Friday farmer’s market; I’m sure that you can’t get it much beyond New York and maybe some of Jersey. It’s been over a year, so I don’t remember what flavors I had, but, if you live near a dairy or a farmer’s market where dairy people go, I’d bet they have incredible fresh ice cream.

    (I also like goat’s-milk ice cream, but my wife disagrees with me, so if it’s not your thing, I can totally understand that.)

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Kurt,
    Why are you wasting your precious time in this discussion when you could be studying Isaiah right now!!!

    Sam B.,
    You can read any translation of the Bible online these days.

    G. Wesley,
    This is an interesting point. I often hear this kind of argument when scholars talk about the questionable authorship attributions of some of the books of the Bible. The argument is that 2 Peter had to have written by Peter otherwise the JST would have corrected it. Personally, I don’t find this argument persuasive so I don’t think that we are bound to it. I think that it misunderstands what the JST was about and assumes that it is a comprehensive barometer for biblical history.

  • Kurt

    Sam B,

    Ciao Bella, if it is in my grocer’s ice cream aisle I will pick some up. If it isnt as good as you say, I expect you to refund me for the uneaten portion.

    TT,

    I am so studying Isaiah right now, so step off. Unlike poseurs like you, I am capable of blogging and hardcore exegesis at the same time. One computer on each hand. Dont make me shave off your mullet with my free foot.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Kurt,
    If you can blog and do “hardcore” exegesis (is that a term of art?) at the same time, it might be possible that somewhere in the universe someone else can also study Isaiah and something else. Let’s hope for all of our sakes that we are allowed to do something else besides Isaiah, or else I might starve to death because there is simply no time to waste on frivolous things like food.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    The notion of erotica in the church makes reason stare when people cannot even understand and live the basics of what Jesus taught, as contained in the Gospels. But, hey, sure, lets just skip all that and move right onto an-depth discussion of lurid text and parse out every possible innuendo, in church, instead of reminding people they ought to be living and doing what Jesus taught. Badda-bing.

    Wait, are we supposed to only study Isaiah or only study the Gospels? You are confusing me.

    First of all, since our erotic lives are intimately connected with the gospel, I am not sure what you mean here. We discuss this constantly in the church. Second, I have not advocated that we read the text for “lurid” purposes, but for theological ones. For such a hardcore exegete as yourself, I’d expect you to respond to claims that I am actually making instead of letting your imagination run wild.

  • Kurt

    Wait, are we supposed to only study Isaiah or only study the Gospels? You are confusing me.

    Sorry, you want me to use monosyllabic words with no more than three letters each?

    First of all, since our erotic lives are intimately connected with the gospel, I am not sure what you mean here.

    You have to be joking, right? How can you seriously expect me to respond to this? If you seriously think “our erotic lives are intimately connected with the gospel”, then you and I have fundamentally different understandings of what the word “gospel” means, and yours veers wildly off from what the Scriptures and dictionary say it means. Sorry, TT, but you have completely lost me on this one. Multiply and replenish the earth is about as erotic as a piece of dry white toast, and the NT is sorely lacking anything even remotely erotic. Sure, you can nit pick the OT for some seemingly salacious stuff, but that is always used in a negative context.

    We discuss this constantly in the church.

    Yeah, we talk about it, and constantly fail to actually do it.

    Second, I have not advocated that we read the text for “lurid” purposes, but for theological ones. For such a hardcore exegete as yourself, I’d expect you to respond to claims that I am actually making instead of letting your imagination run wild.

    There isnt any other substantive reading of Song of Solomon than a lurid one. The text is entirely absent of prophetic content. You may as well read Playboy for the articles and then try to come up with theologically significant insight from that. Trying to go with the “and God so loved Israel” reading is nonsense, and there are plenty of blatantly Scriptural prophetic texts which actually do say that without speculating over lurid, dubious texts.

  • http://ldstalk.wordpress.com/ Dando

    No TT is right. Our erotic life is tied to the gospel. EVERY aspect of our lives is connected to the gospel. If you are married you definitely should have some eroticism in your life, and it should be focused at your spouse. This is the message of SoS. It can be an act of worship to make passionate and fulfilling love to your wife. Lurid is good in the context of marriage.

    For the unmarried, it’s an act of worship not to make love to anyone.

  • smallaxe

    SoS is to Isaiah as:

    A) Tofutti is to Haagen Dazs
    B) Periphery is to peshat
    C) 1% is to 99%
    D) Kurt would say all of the above.

  • Kurt

    Dando,

    The next time you give a talk in Sacrament Meetings, stand up and talk about how “It can be an act of worship to make passionate and fulfilling love to your wife. Lurid is good in the context of marriage.” Oh, and please write to SLC and ask them to address that subject at next GenConf, since it is such a fundamental aspect of the gospel. One that our sex-deprived, hyper-prude, excessively Victorian culture doesnt provide adequate outlet for. Yeah, maybe Pres. Hinkley can talk about that, right after he castigates the Priesthood body yet again for looking at pr0n.

    Smallaxe,

    You missed:

    Bird poop is to mulberries. Do keep up.

  • smallaxe

    Bird poop is to mulberries. Do keep up.

    Too funny. BTW, I’m pretty sure Dando isn’t LDS.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Sorry, you want me to use monosyllabic words with no more than three letters each?

    Only if you think it would help you make a consistent argument. I am just not convinced that we just don’t have time to talk about one of the most important texts in Christian history, whether or not you think that other texts are more important.

    If you seriously think “our erotic lives are intimately connected with the gospel”, then you and I have fundamentally different understandings of what the word “gospel” means, and yours veers wildly off from what the Scriptures and dictionary say it means.

    Perhaps we do go to different churches. In mine, the Law of Chastity is kind of important and something that we discuss a lot. I think that you think that erotic means dirty. Look it up. In the end, I am asking similar questions to Elder Holland in “Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments” about the relationship between the erotic and the divine.

    Well, I am sorry that you think that SoS and Playboy are equivalents. I hate to repeat myself, but given that this text was so important for so long, I think that this is simply hyberbole. This discussion obviously isn’t for you.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Kurt,
    Dando is a very welcome evangelical guest and I doubt that he cares much about what Pres. Hinkley says about his sex life. However, I don’t find anything inconsistent between what he says and what Elder Holland says.

  • Kurt

    I hate to repeat myself, but given that this text was so important for so long, I think that this is simply hyberbole.

    Replace the word “important” with “disputed” and then youll have something accurate that I can agree with.

    This discussion obviously isn’t for you.

    Forgive me for disagreeing with you in a public forum intended to create discussion. I will take that into account from now on: TT only wants people to agree with him. Dissenters unwelcome.

    Dando is a very welcome evangelical guest and I doubt that he cares much about what Pres. Hinkley says about his sex life. However, I don’t find anything inconsistent between what he says and what Elder Holland says.

    Wow, forgive me for assuming someone commenting on a Mormon blog was Mormon. I stand corrected.

    So, since he wont be doing it, why dont you write to Elder Holland and ask him to comment on the importance of Song of Solomon in inspiring him in his “Souls, Symbols and Sacraments”, wherein he quotes it exactly zero times. While youre at it, ask him what he thinks of the SoS text. I, for one, would be curious.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Kurt,
    There is incontrovertible evidence that there are more sermons on this text in the middle ages than any other text.

    Forgive me for disagreeing with you in a public forum intended to create discussion. I will take that into account from now on: TT only wants people to agree with him. Dissenters unwelcome.

    Kurt, you are welcome to disagree with me, but if the content of your objection to this post is that we have better things to do with our time, then I invite you to attend to those things and leave us alone. If you want to condescend to the rest of us and actually have a conversation in which you make an actual argument rather than just tell me what you think is “poo”, I am happy to engage you seriously. Unfortunately, up to now you only deserve invitations to leave.

  • http://ldstalk.wordpress.com/ Dando

    Too funny. BTW, I’m pretty sure Dando isn’t LDS.

    I’m pretty sure I’m not LDS too, but if I’m given the opportunity to speak at Sacrament meeting I’ll take it!

    My understanding of Elder Holland is that if an Evangelical is saying it, he’s more than likely to agree.

  • http://urbanmormonism.blogspot.com SmallAxe

    For such a hardcore exegete I’m not sure where you got:

    So, since he wont be doing it, why dont you write to Elder Holland and ask him to comment on the importance of Song of Solomon in inspiring him in his “Souls, Symbols and Sacraments”, wherein he quotes it exactly zero times.

    From:

    In the end, I am asking similar questions to Elder Holland in “Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments” about the relationship between the erotic and the divine.

    Seriously, what’s your argument: Discussing SoS is a waste of time because it’s “poo” and the basic equivalent to “playboy”?

    As to the larger, and original question of allegorical interpretation, I agree with what you said earlier (or else where): I’m not bothered by it as long as people are self-consciously engaging in it. It seems rather different to make the claim that this text means X, and that this text means X to me. The former I would call an “interpretive voice” (bound by rules of interpretation), and the latter I would call a “creative voice” (bound by fewer issues of contextualization). As LDSs, I think we tend to engage in the latter, often assuming that we’re doing the former (or at least there’s little distinction between the former and latter).

  • http://notapostate.blogspot.com Bored in Vernal

    There isnt any other substantive reading of Song of Solomon than a lurid one. The text is entirely absent of prophetic content.

    I have found an allegorical reading of the Song of Solomon to Solomon to be spiritually strengthening and in line with other prophetic teachings in the OT. The writer of this book is not the only one to use this poetic form. Jeremiah tells his readers, “I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.” (Jer. 6:2) In Isaiah and Jeremiah the “daughter of Zion” is a figure meaning “the covenant people.” Thus Jeremiah, Isaiah, Solomon, and others liken the Church to a beautiful woman.

    Readers such as Kurt may be afraid of the erotic content of the Song of Solomon, or perhaps they simply lack the tools to appreciate the symbology. This is one of the reasons it is wonderful to have so many Biblical authors, each with their own personalities and points of emphasis.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    SmallAxe,
    Excellent points about the creative and interpretive voices. I tend to agree that we can always stand to be more aware of our interpretive contexts.

  • http://www.ldsgospeldoctrine.net/exegesis.html Kurt

    TT

    There is incontrovertible evidence that there are more sermons on this text in the middle ages than any other text.

    So what? During the Great Apostasy, more people wrote about salacious pseudo-scripture than at any other time. Impressive.

    If you want to condescend to the rest of us and actually have a conversation in which you make an actual argument rather than just tell me what you think is “poo”, I am happy to engage you seriously. Unfortunately, up to now you only deserve invitations to leave.

    TT, when you ignore all of my arguments and pretend I am not making any, then yes, you can sit there and accuse me of not making any. How is pointing out the entire lack of prophetic content and the utility of actual prophetic Scripture which does comment on the love between the Lord and Israel not constitute an argument against your beloved SoS? But, hey, that only serves to prove my point that all you want is for people to agree with you.

    smallaxe

    For such a hardcore exegete I’m not sure where you got: From:

    TT is trying to say that Elder Holland’s talk is along the lines of what he is saying SoS is useful for. I reject that, and I believe Elder Holland would as well. TT’s point is that SoS is useful for such things as making the point of Elder Holland’s talk, and yet Elder Holland had no use for it.

    Seriously, what’s your argument: Discussing SoS is a waste of time because it’s “poo” and the basic equivalent to “playboy”?

    My argument, as previously stated, is that the SoS is lurid trash devoid of prophetic content (comment #10) and if one wants to look for text that actually speaks of the Lord love for Israel there are genuine prophetic Scriptural texts that do so (#23), and those texts just happen to not be lurid and salacious. For a Church that is consistently castigated for having problems with pr0n, I cannot conclude otherwise than it would irresponsible to try to get something theologically useful from a text which contains blatant smut.

    Bored In Vernal

    I have found an allegorical reading of the Song of Solomon to Solomon to be spiritually strengthening and in line with other prophetic teachings in the OT.

    In other words, if you ignore the plain reading of the text and insinuate a reading that would not otherwise be discerned from the text, then you can liken it to something which exists elsewhere. And in the process of doing so, you expose yourself to lurid imagery.

    The writer of this book is not the only one to use this poetic form. Jeremiah tells his readers, “I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.” (Jer. 6:2) In Isaiah and Jeremiah the “daughter of Zion” is a figure meaning “the covenant people.” Thus Jeremiah, Isaiah, Solomon, and others liken the Church to a beautiful woman.

    Which is precisely my point from way back in #10, which argument TT says I didnt make, or he missed it, being so enraptured with SoS he apparently didnt realize the bride Zion imagery being alluded to in Isaiah. Why resort to a dubious, salacious text like SoS when you have obviously prophetic Scriptural texts that are not salacious? It make no sense.

    Readers such as Kurt may be afraid of the erotic content of the Song of Solomon, or perhaps they simply lack the tools to appreciate the symbology.

    Yup, I am so afraid of “erotic content” and “lack the tools to appreciate the symbology”. Click the link on my name, BIV.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    TT, when you ignore all of my arguments and pretend I am not making any, then yes, you can sit there and accuse me of not making any. How is pointing out the entire lack of prophetic content and the utility of actual prophetic Scripture which does comment on the love between the Lord and Israel not constitute an argument against your beloved SoS?

    Because that is the first paragraph of my post… Pointing out what I have already said and then ignoring my arguments for why we should still pay attention to it constitutes a non-argument. Being argumentative and making substantive arguments are not the same thing.

    Pointing out that a book which is not prophetic is in fact not prophetic is a non-argument. You’ll notice that SoS is situated in the Bible in the wisdom literature section.

    Telling us that you think that there are better books in the Bible is a non-argument.

    Now, seriously, if you think that SoS is equivalent to pr0n, I would ask that you show me those addiction recovery programs in the church where people talk about how SoS lead to their problems and how they just can’t stop reading it. There is more lurid and salacious material on prime time TV than SoS. This accusation is just silly.

    TT is trying to say that Elder Holland’s talk is along the lines of what he is saying SoS is useful for. I reject that, and I believe Elder Holland would as well. TT’s point is that SoS is useful for such things as making the point of Elder Holland’s talk, and yet Elder Holland had no use for it.

    Well, now that we know what you think Elder Holland thinks, what else can we say? In reality, I did not say that I was trying to make the same point as Elder Holland, but that I was asking similar questions as Elder Holland.

    If you want to argue that SoS is too salacious and will lead to pornography problems, please lay out the evidence for such an outrageous claim. Because if you’re right, we must warn BYU and the Correlation Committee who have mistakenly written a chapter on SoS in their manuals making similar points to me! Also, we should let the church know that they should blot out SoS in all future publications of the scripture. We should also let Matt Evans know so that you two can call the rest of the GA’s pornographers for allowing Playboy equivalent material to be published in our scriptures!!! Seriously, if you weren’t the Snarker, this would be snark-worthy material.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    My argument, as previously stated, is that the SoS is lurid trash devoid of prophetic content (comment #10) and if one wants to look for text that actually speaks of the Lord love for Israel there are genuine prophetic Scriptural texts that do so (#23), and those texts just happen to not be lurid and salacious. For a Church that is consistently castigated for having problems with pr0n, I cannot conclude otherwise than it would irresponsible to try to get something theologically useful from a text which contains blatant smut.

    Christians (and I would imagine Jews) for most of Christian history did not interpret the text in what you are calling a “lurid and salacious” manner. Responding by stating that they were in an apostacy is equivalent to dismissing their commentaries on Isaiah because of apostacy. This cycles back into our previous discussion you bailed out on–reading our contemporary perspective back into the text. The fact of the matter is that Christians of the past found value in the SoS (not luridity or saliciousness), and we currently do not find so much value in it. We obviously don’t find it value-less otherwise we’d remove it from our canon. The question is one of our ability to retrive value from it, hence the discussion about allegorical hermeneutics. Is it possible that you are so dead-set on reading the text in a particular way, you’ve closed off other meaningful options?

    On another note, how do you propose we deal with the violence in the BoM? Should we staple shut the beheadings, the burning of people alive, the slaughtering of unarmed people, and the wars?

  • http://www.ldsgospeldoctrine.net/exegesis.html Kurt

    TT,

    Your grasp of logic and argumentation is…stunning. To say the least. Your powers of contradiction rival John Cleese in the MP Argument Clinic sketch.

    You are not asking similar questions as Elder Holland, you are trying to argue in favor of using SoS to explore “divine eros”. Elder Holland is not doing that, not even close. Your appeal to his essay makes no sense, any more sense than pretending arguments arent.

    Hyperbolic nonsense aside, seriously, the only think snarkworthy here is your obvious, persistent interest in Scriptural texts that deal with sexual matters, and the eagerness with which you seek to change the way Mormons approach them. Mormons arent missing anything by not studying the SoS, and Smith nailed right on the head when he said it was uninspired trash.

    And if you are trying to score some cheap shot by accusing me of being the Bloggernacle Snarker, sorry, I outed myself as part of Team Snarkernacle ages ago. All this shows is you cannot stick to the subject and have to resort to petty ad hominems when pressed.

  • http://www.ldsgospeldoctrine.net/exegesis.html Kurt

    Christians (and I would imagine Jews) for most of Christian history did not interpret the text in what you are calling a “lurid and salacious” manner.

    Some did, some didnt. The text has always been controversial. Look into its history in being canonized.

    Responding by stating that they were in an apostacy is equivalent to dismissing their commentaries on Isaiah because of apostacy.

    No, it doesnt. Keep it in context.

    This cycles back into our previous discussion you bailed out on–reading our contemporary perspective back into the text.

    I bailed on it because you guys were running down so many irrelevant tangents.

    The fact of the matter is that Christians of the past found value in the SoS (not luridity or saliciousness),

    Not all read it in the manner you suggest. Some did, many didnt. The text has always been controversial among both Christians and Jews.

    and we currently do not find so much value in it. We obviously don’t find it value-less otherwise we’d remove it from our canon.

    See the Inspired Version. It is absent.

    The question is one of our ability to retrive value from it, hence the discussion about allegorical hermeneutics. Is it possible that you are so dead-set on reading the text in a particular way, you’ve closed off other meaningful options?

    Is it possibly you guys are so eager to find meaning where there is none that you have to make things up that simply arent there?

    On another note, how do you propose we deal with the violence in the BoM? Should we staple shut the beheadings, the burning of people alive, the slaughtering of unarmed people, and the wars?

    This is the sort of irrelevant tangent that I was talking about above.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    I’m not claiming the text was never debated, the very fact that it was debated meant that the text had value that rivaled other canonical works (regardless of the reasons for which it was included).

    SA: On another note, how do you propose we deal with the violence in the BoM? Should we staple shut the beheadings, the burning of people alive, the slaughtering of unarmed people, and the wars?

    KURT: This is the sort of irrelevant tangent that I was talking about above.

    This is actually central to the issue–you read yourself into the text without the self-awareness that you are doing it (and assume that it’s the universal reading). On what grounds do you dismiss violence as a reason for excising a text, but maintain sexuality as a reason?

  • http://www.ldsgospeldoctrine.net/exegesis.html Kurt

    On what grounds do you dismiss violence as a reason for excising a text, but maintain sexuality as a reason?

    I dont maintain sexuality as a reason for excising a text. I maintain lack of prophetic content as a reason for excising a text from the canon. There is plenty of very sexually explicit stuff in the OT Prophets, and nobody is suggesting we excise them because of it.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    How do you define “prophetic content”?

  • http://www.ldsgospeldoctrine.net/exegesis.html Kurt

    Oh, you are going to like this one TT:

    “What Song of Solomon lacks.”

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    So the SoS is “lurid trash devoid of prophetic content”. But the problem isn’t with the “lurid trash”, now it’s with the lack of “prophetic content”. Apparently “sexually explicit stuff” which you admit appears in the OT, is okay as long as there’s prophetic content to back it up. But you don’t want to define prophetic content? Hmmm……. very persuasive….

  • http://www.ldsgospeldoctrine.net/exegesis.html Kurt

    Apparently “sexually explicit stuff” which you admit appears in the OT, is okay as long as there’s prophetic content to back it up

    Give me a break. The sexually explicit content in the OT Prophets is in a clear and established context where the author is castigating and unrighteous Israel. It is not a salacious text, like SoS.

    You guys are once again running down tangents. How hard is it to define something that is obvious? Pick up a dictionary or Hebrew lexicon. All you guys are doing now is trying to set up leading questions in an effort to find fault. Now that is persuasive.

  • http://www.ldsgospeldoctrine.net/exegesis.html Kurt

    typo: “castigating an unrighteous Israel”

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Kurt,

    Your powers of contradiction…

    I’m sorry, this is news to me. Where did you point out a contradiction?

    you are trying to argue in favor of using SoS to explore “divine eros”. Elder Holland is not doing that, not even close.

    Let’s drop this point because I am simply repeating myself. I have said that I am asking similar QUESTIONS to Elder Holland, namely, what is the symbolism and spiritual significance of sexual union. I have never said that Elder Holland was making the same argument that I am.

    Hyperbolic nonsense aside…

    What exactly is your argument then? So far, all you have submitted for our consideration is hyperbolic nonsense. When we put that aside, you aren’t saying anything at all.

    the only think snarkworthy here is your obvious, persistent interest in Scriptural texts that deal with sexual matters, and the eagerness with which you seek to change the way Mormons approach them.

    Uh, whatever that means. I don’t get what you are insinuating here.

    And if you are trying to score some cheap shot by accusing me of being the Bloggernacle Snarker, sorry, I outed myself as part of Team Snarkernacle ages ago.

    Um, since this is public knowledge, how exactly does repeating it constitute a cheap shot?

    All this shows is you cannot stick to the subject and have to resort to petty ad hominems when pressed.

    Do you know what an ad hominem is? Can you please quote to me where I have committed this grievous sin? Kurt, I am still waiting to be pressed. I have pleaded with you repeatedly to make an argument that has some evidence behind it. I am happy to discuss the merits of SoS with you. If you have some personal problem with me, let’s separate those issues out into different comments than the ones where you are making substantive claims. That way, we can deal with both issues separately without your blustering getting in the way of what you are trying to say. You can continue to hurl insults at me all you want, as long as these are in separate comments from your actual arguments. Is that okay?

    The text has always been controversial. Look into its history in being canonized.

    Kurt, the opposition to this text was relatively minimal. Besides, there was opposition to Hebrews, the Pastoral Epistles, Revelation, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Gospel of John, James, Ecclesiates, Esther, and others. What exactly does that prove? You can keep asserting that it has “always” been opposed by some Christians and Jews, but this is pure imagination (I’ll give you a dollar if you can even find 5 unique references to it being disputed). As has already been said, this text was central to medieval Christianity. It is also one of the five texts read publicly on Passover. It is hardly “disputed” in the overall history of Christianity and Judaism. Rather, it is a pretty central text. In the end, I am not really sure what you intend to gain by this assertion. I have said that this text is very important in Christian history, which is simply a fact, and I have suggested that we examine the reasons why.

    Smith nailed right on the head when he said it was uninspired trash.

    I missed the word “trash” in Smith’s evaluation. As has been pointed out to you already, the LDS church’s canonical publication and official commentaries have all considered it worthy of a hearing, despite Smith’s statement. The Lord saw fit to quote it a number of times in the D&C.
    I have also argued that this comes from a relatively early time in the Prophet’s career and suggested that he may have changed his mind on this issue. Since the JST was basically ignored after 1831, and the Prophet’s own views of divine sexuality were greatly expanded toward the end of his life, that perhaps the JST isn’t the final word. My guess is that it wasn’t until 1981 that this statement was found in our scriptures. I freely admit that I might be wrong, but at least I am making arguments.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    #

    TT: How do you define “prophetic content”?

    KURT: Oh, you are going to like this one TT:

    “What Song of Solomon lacks.”

    Why are you being like this? I feel like I am bending over backwards to give you some credibility and to actually engage you in a productive discussion and all you give me is the finger. Am I just wasting my time with you?

  • http://www.ldsgospeldoctrine.net/exegesis.html Kurt

    Why are you being like this?

    Because of comments like #12 and all that follow. You act like a goofball, and then you expect to be taken seriously?

    I feel like I am bending over backwards to give you some credibility and to actually engage you in a productive discussion and all you give me is the finger. Am I just wasting my time with you?

    I need credibility from you? You are bending over backwards? By making flippant, sarcastic, insulting comments? Wow, I really appreciate your hospitality and graciousness. And now you sit there and pretend you are engaged in a serious endeavor, and have been the entire time? You put up a public post and ask for comments and when you get them, everything is fine as long as everyone agrees with you. But, when someone disagrees with you, you pull out the long knives. Yes, you are wasting your time with me, because you will never convince me your approach to the Scriptures is sound, and I will probably never take you seriously.

    I’ll give you a dollar if you can even find 5 unique references to it being disputed

    Define “sources.” I accept PayPal.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    Give me a break. The sexually explicit content in the OT Prophets is in a clear and established context where the author is castigating and unrighteous Israel. It is not a salacious text, like SoS.

    I’m trying to make sense of your argument. Is your problem with SoS that it has “salacious” material or that it lacks “prophetic content”? Or both?

    You guys are once again running down tangents. How hard is it to define something that is obvious? Pick up a dictionary or Hebrew lexicon. All you guys are doing now is trying to set up leading questions in an effort to find fault. Now that is persuasive.

    The reason we want you to define YOUR OWN terms (besides the fact that you are the one making the assertion and therefore have the responsibility of being clear), is to demonstrate the subjectivity of your position which you take to be objectively clear. This is the same problem I had with you in our last discussion–you assume that your view somehow transcends your particularality. You don’t realize your own situatedness. The fact that YOU find SoS lurid and salacious does not mean that objectively speaking such is the case. We’ve never denied that the text can be read that way, but we realize our own culturally embedded location from which that judgement comes; coupled with the fact that the text is in our canon and that many Christians have found value in it, makes one think that perhaps our culture (of which you are constantly asserting other people are under the influence of), has led us to limit the value of the text. So, if you want to make an objective case for the salcious material and lack of prophetic content, go right ahead, but its your responsibility to define the terms as such!

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Yes, you are wasting your time with me, because you will never convince me your approach to the Scriptures is sound, and I will probably never take you seriously.

    Well, at least that is out of the way. Since I have no hope of convincing you, I can only hope that you will butt out of my posts in the future so that those who are willing to engage in serious discussion won’t be distracted by your blabbering.

    Thanks to the rest of you for your comments, especially those who are able to conduct a conversation without the words “poo,” the use of hyperbolic comparisons to Playboy, and to make informed observations.

    Finally we can get back to the topic.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Sorry, I couldn’t let this one go:

    Define “sources.”

    What you don’t have.

    Okay, now I am done.

  • http://notapostate.blogspot.com Bored in Vernal

    TT, It’s a shame that Kurt has been so full of poo on this thread. I think what you had to say in your post was valuable. I would especially have liked to explore your question on whether the SoS can be of use to modern Mormons. The D&C verses above cited seem to me to make a connection between the SoS and modern-day revelation.

    One of the things that is so appealing about the book of Isaiah is its imagery and symbolism. I find plenty of this in the SoS which is especially evident to Latter-day Saints. In my post I mentioned the temple imagery of SoS 3:9-10; there are also verses which poetically recall the Restoration. For example SoS 2:8-13 where Christ is the beloved, his love is the Church, the winter is the apostasy, and the spring is the Restoration, mountains are the nations, the fig tree shows the signs of the times.

    The voice of my beloved! Behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart; behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice. My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land. The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell, Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

    From this verse Latter-day Saints can learn that during the Apostasy, though Christ stood as it was behind a wall, yet he still looked upon the earth as through a window. Those few who were prepared were able to partake of his grace like the light showing through a lattice. I also love the images of flowers appearing, the singing of birds, and the voice of the turtle dove to represent the gifts of priesthood and a prophets voice being restored to the earth.

    I find this book prophetic in its representation of Christ, the temple, a latter-day restoration, and much more which is there for those who are willing to read and study it.

  • http://urbanmormonism.blogspot.com TrailerTrash

    BIV,
    Excellent thoughts. I think that the possibility of finding Restoration themes is particularly interesting, especially given the D&C. It is interesting to note that the D&C is the only book of scripture that actually quotes the SoS! It isn’t quoted in either the OT or NT.

  • Kurt

    smallaxe

    I am fine with the standard dictionary definition meanings for words. I have no interest in your semantical digressions. The SoS should be excised from the canon because it lacks prophetic content. In addition to this, it is also a lurid text. And I am limiting that comment strictly to the SoS so you cannot take it and attempt to apply it to other texts in an effort to run me down tangents on other texts.

    As far as your and my “situatedness”, I understand the point you are trying to make, but it is irrelevant when the text being discussed is not ambiguous or obscure. If a text were fragmentary or abstruce, then I could understand your appeal. But, in this case and in the prior case, it is/was not. You and TT tried to argue this on the sexual immorality thread, and it was absurd. The overwhelming amount of text and surrounding textual support and the sheer abundance of historical evidence leaves absolutely no purchase for your “you are reading it out of cultural context” position. When you can clearly establish the author’s context, then there is no room for speculation over whether you are getting it wrong.

    TT

    Ah, such flagrant hypocrisy (#53) is so refreshing. You feign scholarship while faulting my behavior, then go and do the exact same thing. Brilliant! Thank you for proving unequivocally that this is nothing but a farce.

    Here are five sources that reject the Song of Solomon as being what you think it is:

    1) Joseph Smith explicitly labels the text “uninspired”, and it is subsequently excised from the Herald House _Inspired Version_ of the Bible. Your private speculation over Smith changing possibly changing his mind on this matter is irrelevant and entirely lacking any substantive evidence whatsoever. Smith explicitly rejected the text and he had ample opportunity to reverse that and never did. Leadership of the LDS Church has never questioned this and continues to endorse Smith’s rejection.

    2) “The answer to how it gained entry to the Bible is itself intriguing. At the 90 A.D. Council of Jamnia. Jewish Rabbis from across the spectrum of Judaism assembled in order to close in Jewish Canon. The Palestinian rabbinical school of Shammai stood in the fore of the opposition for canonization of Song of Songs. They argued that nothing could be considered scripture that was being employed in lewd, barroom songs. Notably, like Esther it does not mention god explicitly. [un]Fortunately the cause of Song of Songs was championed by the less stringent Babylonian rabbinical school of Hillel. Akiba said: ‘The entire universe is not as worthy as the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel, for all the Writings are holy, but the Song of Songs are the Holy of Hollies.’ Lead by the defense of Rabbi Aqiba, the Hillel school succeeded in maintaining the canonicity of Song of Songs. The inclusion of the Song of Songs within the canon is at some level an affirmation of the essential created goodness of sex, as if the Rabbis appreciated the goodness of human love, and realized the importance of canonically affirming it.” Quoted from http://www.dhushara.com/book/song/song.htm, see also Geisler and Nix, General Introduction to the Bible, page 258-259.

    3) Hill and Walton state “The book is likely a northern kingdom satire on the reign of Solomon and his exploitation of women (ironically to his own demise) and a memorializing of the exemplary character of the Shulammite maiden who rejected the wooing of the king out of faithfulness to her common-lover” Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, 303, 304-305

    4) Pope considers SoS to be fertility cult ritual liturgy, i.e., iodolatrous marriage reenactments. He provides numerous ANE poems to support his reading. (Marvin Pope, Anchor Bible, Song of Songs, Doubleday, 1977)

    5) Mishnah Yadayim 3:5 documents the debate over the Song of Songs and Ecclesiates, which some Rabbis consider to not defile the hands (i.e., holy texts “defile the hands” and require you to wash hands before touching food, but if SoS isnt holy, then it doesnt “defile the hands” and require wasthing). See http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/about_jewish_texts/What_Are_Jewish_Texts/MishnahYadayaim_82.htm

    But, my favorite quote of all is this one, by someone named Burrowes, appearing in the JFB:

    “It lies in the casket of revelation an exquisite gem, engraved with emblematical characters, with nothing literal thereon to break the consistency of their beauty.”

    That is supposed to be salutory praise, but in effect exposes the text as being entirely devoid of anything actually saying something about what you allege it is talking about. Nope, sorry, “nothing literal thereon”. Fantastic. I couldnt ask for a better argument against the SoS. You can make it represent anything you like. Anything at all.

    You owe me a dollar. Send it via PayPal.

    BIV

    Thanks for resorting to insubstantive ad hominems, as that just shows where you are coming from and what your agenda is.

    SoS 3:9-10 is not referring to the Temple, not by a long shot. Read the entirety of the strophe from v. 6-11 and it is obvious this is his wedding entourage manned by soldiers and he is riding a palanquin. You are saying his palanquin is the Temple and the armed soldiers are supposed to represent Levitical priests? And he is going for a Temple Wedding, right? Talk about reading things into the text that arent there. Gee, TT and smallaxe, why arent you jumping all over her for that blatantly culturally relativistic modernized reading? BIV, your reading on SoS 2:8-13 is no different. The interpolations you are making could make the text equal to anything and everything at all. And you say I lack tools to appreciate symbology? You just make stuff up. So, perhaps what you really meant was I lack an overactive imagination.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    I am fine with the standard dictionary definition meanings for words.

    Then choose the dictionary. I can’t seem to find one that has “prophetic content” in it.

    And I am limiting that comment strictly to the SoS so you cannot take it and attempt to apply it to other texts in an effort to run me down tangents on other texts.

    We both know those aren’t “tangents” because if I can prove that other canonical texts meet your requirement of no “prophetic content” and are “lurid”, then your argument is ruined.

    As far as your and my “situatedness”, I understand the point you are trying to make, but it is irrelevant when the text being discussed is not ambiguous or obscure.

    Your own reference to the council of Jamnia demonstrates the ambiguity and obscurity you say isn’t there. Some wanted the text in, some wanted it out. It’s history is not clear; nor is there the “abundance” of evidence that you suggest is overwhelmingly in your favor. On what grounds is the Hillel School wrong, but the Shammai School right?

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Kurt,
    I suppose that you are justified in these attempts to answer my request since I didn’t actually tell you what a unique reference is. That said, I shall forever sing your praises for offering some real evidence (though your persistent attempts to gain moral high ground here just get more annoying).

    To recap, you were going to provide 5 “unique references” to demonstrate that this text has “always” been disputed throughout Jewish and Christian history. What I was looking for were primary sources (statements from Church fathers, canon lists, apologetic letters, etc) throughout Jewish and Christian history, from different times and places, that would begin to substantiate your claim. What is at stake here is the perceived value of SoS by hundreds of years of Christians and Jews. I am arguing that the high esteem which this text was held in Christian history constitutes a reason to take a closer look at the theological value that this text can offer, specifically given LDS theological understandings of love and eroticism. Again, I am glad that you are doing some research on this (I only count two actual references), but even if you can demonstrate that it was disputed throughout time, I am still not sure that this disproves my point that the text was also considered to be the most important by a number of central figures in medieval Christianity.

    1. You win that JS questioned it. Not something we didn’t already know and hardly evidence that this text was “always” disputed in Jewish and Christian history, but okay, I will give you a freebie.

    2. This is simply a summary (with some conjecture) of M. Yad 3:5, which you use again in #5.

    3. So what? I don’t see these commenters making a claim that it shouldn’t be canonized or providing any evidence that the text was “disputed.” This doesn’t count. Let me make an important point here that you don’t seem to get. A text’s “original” context has NOTHING to do with whether or not it should be canonized. Not all revelations made it into the canon and not all that made it into the canon are revelations. Phlm is a personal letter to some dude from Paul. Paul didn’t intend in its original context that it would be read 2000 years later. I don’t think he intended for it to be read 2 days later. In fact, I think it safe to say that there is not a single biblical author that intended their writings to be included in the Bible because the Bible didn’t exist. The other issue is which “original”? Mt and Lk are revisions of Mk. Mark draws on a few sources himself. What is the “original”? You keep asserting that “prophetic content” is the standard for canonicity, but you have refused to define what you mean by this (except your circular argument above). I am quite positive that whatever definition you give won’t fit at least one other book in the Bible simply because this was not the standard used by the compilers of the Bible. So, you can keep telling us what we already know, that the text was likely “originally” a non-religious love poem, but this doesn’t say anything about whether or not it should be canonized nor about its potential spiritual contributions today. The question that you should be asking is: Given that this text is a secular love poem, why has it been canonized? What value did our Jewish and Christian forebearers see in this text?

    4. Ditto.

    5. Repeat of #2.

  • Kurt

    smallaxe

    Try “prophecy” and “content”.

    Yes, I saw what you were going to try to do, which is why I deliberately avoided stepping into your trap. Forget it, smallaxe, all you are trying to do here is polemics. Which is why you are attacking me and ignoring BIV’s absurdly speculative reading on SoS. I am being deliberately evasive with you because your motives are transparently obvious. You have an agenda, and I am not interested in it. I have been pretty clear with you on that all along.

    TT

    How boringly predictable. You refuse to give a definition and then fabricate an excessively exclusive after-the-fact definition. Yawn.

    #2 and #5 are not repeats of the same thing. Read them. Number 5 is discussion on purity ritual over the handling of sacred texts, and #2 is an explicit argument over canon.

    Your responses on #3 and #4 are irrelevant, and you are just trying to change the subject to avoid having to admit there are modern sources that reject the text. You asked for evidence of sources that rejected the authenticity or utility of the text. Both of these sources consider the text to be uninspired crap, one an ironic polemical attack by Northern Israel on Judah and the other an idolatrous fertility rite. How in the world could you not conclude from those author’s assertions that they would not consider the text “disputed”? That is just irrational.

    You asked for evidence that the text has always been in dispute, and I provided it, pretty much as far back as written evidence is available. I provided ancient and modern evidence of people who reject the text as being something inspired and useful for exploring this allegedly worthwhile topic of “divine eros”.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    Try “prophecy” and “content”.

    The only definition I could find was: “The inability of Kurt to substantiate his own argument”.

    Of course I have an agenda, and so do you. It just so happens that our agendas conflict with each other–your agenda is to assert your reading on the text, and my agenda is to assert that every reading is highly particular and enmeshed in its own cultural locality. Since your reading is an attempt to transcend what I’ve just mentioned, of course I’m going to come after it. I’m happy to use SoS to make my point. If there are any “traps”, you’ve set them yourself.

    All you have to do is concede that the SoS has real religious value for LDSs beyond your narrow-minded interpretation (which at least BIV attempts to do), and I’m done.

  • Kurt

    The only definition I could find was: “The inability of Kurt to substantiate his own argument”.

    There is a big difference between inability and unwillingness. When it comes to someone who’s only interest is polemical, it is wisdom to avoid them and their petty self-promoting traps. For people like you who rely on semantical and regressive arguments, discussion is inherently self-defeating.

    All you have to do is concede that the SoS has real religious value for LDSs beyond your narrow-minded interpretation (which at least BIV attempts to do), and I’m done.

    SoS has real religious value for LDSs in that it exposes the subjectivity and uninspired nature of the people who compiled the Bible, shows that the traditions of men are fallible, and provides an excellent negative example that serves to contrast genuinely inspired prophetic literature.

    You are done. Congrats.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    I hardly think that my question was really so unclear that you thought I wanted a bunch of secondary sources all parotting the same argument from the same set of primary sources. I wanted the “unique references” to actual disputes.

    If you can give the primary source on which the speculation in #2 is based, I will give you one more. However, if you read M. Yad 3:5 (which I am beginning to think is the ONLY primary source that shows dispute about this text) it is clear that that is what #2 is working from.

    Modern sources who reject the text? Show me the quote from those commentaries that says “SoS should be removed from the canon” and you’ll be right. So far, all you’ve shown is that historians have come to certain conclusions about the origins of the text.

    In the end, so what? Even if by some chance you find some actual historical disputes about this text that no commentary has yet found besides M. Yad 3:5, what exactly does that prove again?

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Kurt,
    I think that we are all growing impatient with your games. If you really think that “prophetic content” is the standard by which canonicity should be determined, then please define what that means. I can think of a few definitions, but that may or may not be what you mean by the terms. Our requests for you to define what you mean is not a “trap” but a courtesy so that we can have a substantive discussion. If you continue to spit in our face, I am not sure that there is any value in your presence here and I repeat my request that you butt out.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    SoS has real religious value for LDSs in that it exposes the subjectivity and uninspired nature of the people who compiled the Bible, shows that the traditions of men are fallible, and provides an excellent negative example that serves to contrast genuinely inspired prophetic literature.

    You are done. Congrats.

    Actually this falls under “your narrow-minded interpretation”.

  • Kurt

    smallaxe,

    Actually this falls under “your narrow-minded interpretation”.

    If I have to embrace readings like BIV’s in order to not be “narrow-minded”, then I heartily embrace narrow-mindedness, because in the case of SoS, that is only common sense. Which is sorely lacking here.

    TT

    Our requests for you to define what you mean is not a “trap” but a courtesy so that we can have a substantive discussion.

    Um, no, it isnt. Smallaxe already admitted it isnt in comment 57. His only interest in getting me to define the term is to develop a polemical argument by applying it to an external text. Pure, unadulterated sophistry.

    If you continue to spit in our face, I am not sure that there is any value in your presence here and I repeat my request that you butt out.

    So you can spit in my face and that is OK, but I am not allowed to. Got it.

    OK, bullying bad boy, since I refuse to step into your bear trap of a semantically regressive argument, I will leave you to speculate in a fabulously inconsistent fashion with BIV and smallaxe, ignoring the very same rules you apply to me when it comes to cultural situatedness.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    Um, no, it isnt. Smallaxe already admitted it isnt in comment 57. His only interest in getting me to define the term is to develop a polemical argument by applying it to an external text. Pure, unadulterated sophistry.

    Why is applying a claim such as “texts without prophetic content should be excised from our canon” (which you state in #42) to texts other than SoS “pure, unadulterated sophistry”? You state it yourself.

    Accusations of sophistry are the last gasps of a dying argument.

  • Kurt

    smallaxe,

    You came into this thread in #25 with no interest in discussing the topic at hand, namely the utility of the Song of Solomon. Your only interest here is attacking me. You have repeatedly tried to snare me with irrelevant nonsense (e.g., your comments in 38 and 41, to which I was replying in 42, which reply you are now distorting in a continuing effort to ensnare me), and I have identified that fact the entire time. It is pure, unadulterated sophistry because you care not one whit for the subject at hand. You only interest is to entangle me in words in an effort to attack and undermine.

    Sophistry is the refuge of those with an agenda, but lacking an argument.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    It is pure, unadulterated sophistry because you care not one whit for the subject at hand. You only interest is to entangle me in words in an effort to attack and undermine.

    Sophistry is the refuge of those with an agenda, but lacking an argument.

    What I care about is the issue upon which this discussion is predicated: how we read the text. I state that very clearly in #51 (copied below). This is about and has always been about your ability to justify how you read the text, which to me is arrogant and narrow-minded because of reasons explained in #51. It’s directly related with nothing sophist about it.

    #51: This is the same problem I had with you in our last discussion–you assume that your view somehow transcends your particularality. You don’t realize your own situatedness. The fact that YOU find SoS lurid and salacious does not mean that objectively speaking such is the case. We’ve never denied that the text can be read that way, but we realize our own culturally embedded location from which that judgement comes; coupled with the fact that the text is in our canon and that many Christians have found value in it, makes one think that perhaps our culture (of which you are constantly asserting other people are under the influence of), has led us to limit the value of the text.

  • Kurt

    But, smallaxe, I dont believe you when you say that. When you come into a forum and start it out with comments like those in 25 and 33 it leads me to question and doubt that your motives are genuine, and then follow it up with semantically regressive arguments and irrelevant tangents, then that just cements my doubts and convinces me you have no real interest in hermeneutics at all and are just here to attack and undermine me.

    If believed you were sincere in your comment in #68, I would be more than happy to discuss hermeneutics with you. But, I dont. And why should I when you and TT are tag teaming me with such dubious methods? Sorry, it doesnt wash.

    There is nothing arrogant and narrow-minded about refusing to step into the bear trap you keep trying to slip under my foot.

    Why dont you and TT get back to talking about how great SoS is at exploring Divine eros? Oh, wait, yeah, you were never interested in that in the first place.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Kurt,
    You came into this forum with dismissive comments, hyperbole, and “poo.” Quit complaining if you weren’t given the red carpet when you showed up.

    Also, this thread has been about hermeneutics from the original post and everything after that, which is why your avoidance of this issue has been particularly frustrating. I find it hard to believe that you are really surprised just now to find this out.

    Since you don’t want to talk about hermeneutics and you don’t care about SoS, I suggest that we all just drop it. All of this whining about who treated who badly when and for what reasons is just a waste of precious time for studying Isaiah.

  • Kurt

    TT,

    I never asked for the red carpet, and I certainly dont expect it from the likes of you. You get what you deserve. That isnt the issue smallaxe and I are discussing, so stop distorting it. I am not complaining about the lack of his civility and hospitality, I am pointing out his motives are not sincere, and there is manifest evidence to support that conclusion. I couldnt care less what you think of me or how you treat me.

    It has not been about hermeneutics, it has never been about hermeneutics, it is about the utility of SoS in exploring this alleged divine eros, hence the title of the post.

    If you want to drop it, then tell smallaxe to stop asking me questions. If I dont respond to them, he will just accuse me of bailing on the thread again the next time I come in here and he starts the whole charade again.

    Besides, I am still waiting for you two to get back on topic and discuss the finer points of how SoS can be used to explore divine eros. With baited breath I might add. The very pearls of wisdom that will drop like dew from heaven. Dont keep me waiting much longer, I dont think I can hardly stand it.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    Actually TT’s first question is as follows: My question is whether or not Mormons can find any value in the Song of Songs. Are we stuck with the literalist hermeneutics of modernity, or does the allegorical method have some value?

    I’ve done nothing but discuss this question except for my initial post which was meant in jest and I followed it up with a light-hearted comment about how funny your response was. You have no evidence to judge any alterior motive. You asserted a certain hermeneutic which renders the SoS valueless, and I challenge your ability so sustain such a hermeneutic. Clear argumentation, go back and read the entire thread. Come back sometime when you’re ready to actually defend your parochial position. I’m going on vacation (literally).

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