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The Literary Growth of the Song of Songs during the Hasmonean and Early-Herodian Periods

Authors:  Elgvin T.

Year: 2018
ISBN: 978-90-429-3527-3
Pages: XIV-237 p.
Price: 72 EURO

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The author presents a reedition of the Qumran Canticles scrolls, demonstrating that turn-of-the-era 4QCanta,b contain variant recensions of Canticles, substantively shorter than the Masoretic text. Many textual variants display earlier and more original readings, suggesting that Canticles was finalized only around the turn of the era.
The archaeology of post-exilic Judea, Perea, and Jerusalem is brought in dialogue with the texts. The Hasmonean Jewish kingdom, rapidly expanding from 112 B.C.E., is suggested as historical background for the growing collection of love songs, some toponyms only giving meaning in this period. The capital of the new Jewish state allowed more open relations between men and women and stimulated a land romanticism reflected in many songs. In this milieu Jerusalem scribes collected and edited human love songs and coloured them with allusions to biblical texts, thereby inviting a symbolic (double) reading: both on earthly love and the relation between God and his people.

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