IVP New Commentary on the Song of Songs

IVP has just released volume 19 The Song of Songs by Iain M. Duguid for their new edition of their Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries series. This volume is intended to replace the fine volume by G. Lloyd Carr. While I have not read the entire volume as of yet, I can offer a few observations.   While both introductions are approximately the same length, Duguid’s volume is 15 pages shorter on the commentary side. The commentary section is divided between three divisions: Context, Comment and Meaning. Since it is a newer volume, the author does interact with Exum’s and Hess’ newer commentaries as well as older ones such as Pope and Longman. However, he did not include Dan Estes’ commentary on the Song in the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series.

Duguid argues against Solomonic authorship and leans to a date after the exile as the most likely (23). His approach to the Song is a literal one plus something else. While he states that he rejects the fanciful allegorical reading, and believes the “natural” interpretation to be the correct one, he wants to “go further than this and bridge the two interpretations” (37). So throughout the volume this “bridge” is evident in his regular mentioning of Jesus Christ. His understanding of Luke 24:44-45 as the evidence that “every part of the old Testament speaks to us of the suffering of Christ and the glories that will follow” (51) allows him to construct this “bridge” with materials that are non-existent in the Song. Although he does not want to be seen as championing the allegorical approach, he wants to hold to “two broad categories, which we may call the ‘spiritual’ approach and the ‘natural’ approach” (28). This is unfortunate. While I look forward to reading the commentary section itself, I do hope Carr’s volume stays in print.

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The Huffington Post and the Song of Songs

Someone has said that everyone has their 15 minutes of fame. I guess I am having mine. I was mentioned in an article at The Huffington Post (here). I am preaching on the Song of Songs for one of our Project Jerusalem Church plants, Restored Baptist Church in Wilkes-Barre PA this Sunday. Also, check out the local news story (here) and an editorial about Restored billboard (here).

While I understand the editorial, it saddens me that a Christian would criticize another believer in the press (cf. Matt 18).

The Huffington Post and the Song of Songs

Someone has said that everyone has their 15 minutes of fame. I guess I am having mine. I was mentioned in an article at The Huffington Post (here). I am preaching on the Song of Songs for one of our Project Jerusalem Church plants, Restored Baptist Church in Wilkes-Barre PA this Sunday. Also, check out the local news story (here) and an editorial about Restored billboard (here).

While I understand the editorial, it saddens me that a Christian would criticize another believer in the press (cf. Matt 18).

Hollywood tackles the Song of Solomon

One scholar I read recently on the Song of Songs related that she was glad that Hollywood has not made a modern movie of the Song of Solomon as of yet. That is about to change. This September the same motion picture company that produced the Christian film, Fireproof, is releasing The Song. (See article and trailer here). The film follows Jed King, an aspiring singer who meets and falls in love with a vineyard owners daughter at their vineyard harvest festival.  He marries her and his career takes off. Tempted with all the trappings of a successful music career, Jed must make choices. The article states that the music driven film surfaces themes of “temptation, redemption and the power of forgiveness.” Sorry, but I am at a loss to see how a close reading of the Song “inspires” such themes. The trailer reminds me more of Ecclesiastes than the Song! But it is unfair to judge a movie by its trailer so I will withhold judgment until October.

Conference on the Song of Songs

For those interested in the Song of Songs Harvard Divinity School hosted a panel discussion (April 15, 2013) and featured a conversation between four scholars on The Song of Songs:Translation, Reception, Reconfiguration. The panel included Cheryl Exum of the University of Sheffield, Michael Fishbane of University of Chicago Divinity School, Paul Griffiths of Duke University, and Stephanie Paulsell of HDS. Exum was the most profitable and held to the biblical text. Fishbane shared from a Jewish perspective; Griffiths from a Roman Catholic one from the Latin Vulgate and Paulsell from a Protestant point of view.  All (except Exum) suggested multiple readings (including allegory) as legitimate reading strategies for this book. For those interested in the Song the video is worth the viewing time. The video runs an hour and forty-two minutes. Each was allotted approximately 20 minutes. A Q&A with the audience followed.

Valentine Day and the Song of Songs

My daughter shared this really cute video about the proverbial relationship  “doghouse.”  If you understand “spending time in the doghouse,” you will appreciate the video.  There is a follow up that provides the genesis of the video and it promoted this blog post concerning the Song of Songs a few days before Valentine Day.

Once you view the second video you realize the capitalism (and creativity) of retailers on Valentine Day.  But in the Song there is no Valentine Day. Based on that observation some of you may wish to live back in Solomon’s a day!  There was no gift giving expectations! There was no struggle with what gift not to buy for V-Day.  While it is true there is no day dedicated to proclaiming love and affection in the Song, it is equally true that ALL the days (and nights!) of these two lovers are devoted to love’s proclamations and subsequent erotic actions!  In this relationship everyday is Valentine Day!  If this is true and February 14th is mainly for giving romantic gifts, you can almost hear your wallet crying.

In my study for this post, I had hoped to find that the Song would argue against such crass commercialism and the trappings of Valentine Day i.e. expensive jewelry, rich chocolate, etc. Instead I found that the female lover was worthy of a fine-jeweled necklace and rich ornamental earrings (SoS 1:10, 11). Her appetite also craved the food of the day,  “love food” to keep her energy for their evening of passion (SoS 2:5)!

There seems to be no escaping the trappings of the 14th day of the second month of the year.  So follow the Song; skip the vacuum and blender as gifts and think biblically in your offering.  However, as you consider your 2014 V-day gift I would suggest that while you want to follow a literal interpretation AND application of the biblical text, in this instance skip the literal apples and raisin cakes,….. splurge for Godiva chocolates—in the shape of apples and dark chocolate covered raisins just to be closer to the text. Buying a bag of apples and a loaf of raisin bread could land you in the doghouse this weekend!

Preaching the Song of Songs

In my distraction in dealing with Trigeminal neuralgia and a CSF leak, I failed to post a paper I delivered at the Council for Dispensational Hermeneutics in Houston Texas, October 3-4, 2012.

It was entitled, “Preaching the Song of Songs: How Should Pastors Handle, ‘Bellies,’ ‘Navels,’ and ‘Breasts,’ from Their Sunday Morning Pulpit?: A Test Case in Literal Hermeneutics AND Literal Application.” McGinniss_Preaching-the-Song-of-Songs copy The title did generate some buzz and one participant thanked my dean for having the foresight to schedule it right after lunch!  He mentioned that no one would fall asleep with that topic…and from my vantage point…no one did 🙂