Saturday, July 19, 2008

The only biblical passage celebrating marital sex: Prov 5:15-19

Reading Proverbs for a section in my book about the composition of same, I was fascinated to read of Proverbs 5:15-19 in notes from the Jewish Study Bible that this is the only passage in the Bible explicitly celebrating the pleasures of marital sex. And where does this occur in the lectionary???

5 comments:

CoyoteD said...

Obviously you’ve not read the “Song of Song.” The imagery is very explicit. One may counter that this is just between lovers but others will say it’s a young married couple. I choose to believe it’s the latter.

Tay Moss said...

Choosing to believe something that's not in the Bible (i.e. the notion that these poetic characters were married) isn't doing the Holy Spirit any favors. Why not let it remain ambiguous and focus instead on emotions that poem (or poems, to be more accurate) is trying to convey?

-t

Tay Moss said...

Good point about it not being the lectionary. The RCL skips right over Proverbs 2-7. This is one of the reasons I try to encourage people getting married to select more interesting readings that the BCP recommendations.

-t

Jane R said...

Best translation and commentary on the Song of Songs in recent years is the one by Chana Bloch and Ariel Bloch from about a decade ago.

Deirdre may have an alternate suggestion, there have been others in the last few decades, e.g. Marcia Falk's beautiful translation -- but the Blochs' work really stands out and has a commentary on the Hebrew and the why and how of the translation which Falk's text doesn't have. It has the Hebrew and English on facing pages and is a physically beautiful book. Good for scholars but also a great gift book.

The Blochs were married (the NY Times mentions this in the book review) got divorced around the time the book came out, though... They mentioned this when I went to hear them read and speak about the translation in Berkeley at the time the volume came out. They didn't really talk about it, just mentioned it, and they remain friends and colleagues. Their take on the lovers in the Song of Songs --which, like the Book of Esther, makes no explicit mention of God but of course has been allegorized in ways that bring God in-- is that they are very young, like Romeo and Juliet, barely teenagers.

And Coyoted, Dr. Deirdre Good is a professor of scripture who has written on the Bible and sexuality and family, and she has certainly read the Song of Songs...

CoyoteD said...

I do appreciate your condescending tone. Nice way of cutting of discussion.

David Bentley Hart's new translation of The New Testament

David Bentley Hart's new translation of the New Testament is a breath of fresh air: responsible, creative, and inspiring. Yale Unive...