Body as Landscape, Love as Intoxication: Conceptual Metaphors in the Song of Songs

November 28, 2020
Body as Landscape, Love as Intoxication: Conceptual Metaphors in the Song of Songs

Explore metaphors in the exquisite and enigmatic poetry of Songof SongsOne of the chief difficulties in interpreting the Song's lyricsis the unusual imagery used to depict the lovers' bodies. Why isthe maiden's hair compared to a flock of goats (4:1), the man'scheeks likened to garden beds of spice (5:13), and the eyes of bothlovers described as doves (4:1; 5:12)? While scholars speculate onthe significance of these images, a systematic inquiry into theSong's body metaphors is curiously absent. Based on insights fromcognitive linguistics, this study incorporates biblical andcomparative data to uncover the meaning of these metaphorssurveying literature in the eastern Mediterranean (and beyond) thatshares a similar form (poetry) and theme (love). Gault presents aninterpretation of the Song's body imagery that sheds light on theperception of beauty in Israel and its relationship to surroundingcultures.FeaturesExploration of the Song's use of universal themes and culturallyspecific variationsDiscussion of the Song's literary structure and unity