This book has come to be known in English as "The Song of Solomon," but in the original Hebrew (and hence in the Greek and Latin versions) the title is "The Song of Songs," in the superlative sense, i.e. the best of songs. The question of authorship is closely connected with that of the meaning of the book, but it has traditionally been attributed to Solomon, who figures prominently in the work. The Song (also known as Canticles) is best described as love poetry. Because of its explicit erotic character, ancient Jews and Christians alike rejected its literal interpretation and always allegorized it. To most Jews, it referred to God's dealings with his bride, Israel. The early Christians saw it as representing the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church. Vestiges of this type of interpretation can even be found in some modern Christian hymns, such as "Jesus Rose of Sharon" and "I Have Found a Friend in Jesus" (see SS.2v1; SS.5v10). The early Christian inability to deal with this book at the literal level was influenced more by the Greek philosophy of the time than by the Bible itself. If, as seems justified by the text, we take the Song of Solomon as the words of a couple anticipating an imminent wedding, the book serves as a useful corrective to unbiblical marital asceticism. This book shows that God intended every married couple to enjoy a wide range of sexual pleasure when expressing love between them.

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