Monday, October 23, 2017

Review of Wilke, Farewell to Shulamit

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Carsten Wilke, Farewell to Shulamit: Spatial and Social Diversity in the Song of Songs. Jewish thought, philosophy and religion, 2. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2017. Pp. viii, 170. ISBN 9783110500547. $91.99. Reviewed by Susan Sorek, Oxford Continuing Education (
The Song of Songs has long been the focus of various conflicting debates amongst Old Testament scholars. Is it theological allegory, a story, or a compilation of erotic folksongs? There is only one constant throughout the Song, the central female character Shulamit, who appears to embody an ideal ‘norm’ of womanhood. Wilke examines the text in terms of spatial diversity and finds that the Song displays a discontinuous cycle of personal encounters within urban, rural and pastoral scenes. Then he attempts to contextualise the Song by comparing it with the conventions of Hellenistic love poetry and with the ritual symbolism of Dionysian cult, within the historical framework of the multiethnic borderland east of the Jordan.


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