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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"In clouds of myrrh and frankincense" : the song of songs as wisdom poetry Miller, Margaret Alice


Various interpretive approaches have been taken to the Song of Songs. One current approach views the Song as a lyric poem influenced by the ancient Israelite wisdom tradition. This is the general approach taken in my thesis. However, I introduce wisdom influence in the Song from a different perspective. My perspective on wisdom influence in the Song of Songs flows from an analysis of the poetry of the Song. Aspects of Turner's theory of liminality inspire my method of analysis. It is also informed by the interpretive possibilities of the poem's original Hebrew language and by feminist observations. Five groups of images form the basis of this analysis: images of awakening, dance and encircling, fragrance, blowing winds, and flowing waters. These images are examined for their literal and figurative connotations and followed as they move through the "worlds" of the Song: the natural world, the social world, the world of the lovers and the spiritual world. This method of analysis offers a way to explore the complex and beautiful poetry of the Song of Songs. I suggest that new insights into wisdom influence in the Song may be drawn from this analysis.

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