Raymond B. Dillard and Tremper Longman III
AN INTRODUCTION to the OLD TESTAMENT
Ecclesiastes gives the appearance of being written with our time in mind. Of course, it was not; all biblical books address the time period in which they were written. Ecclesiastes’ main voice, however, calling himself Qohelet, expresses a skepticism that sounds modern. Consequently, many people have turned to this book for help when they have experienced disillusionment with their world and even with their God.
The history of the interpretation of the Song of Songs is a fascinating story. Perhaps no other biblical book has been read so differently from one time period to another. In the Middle Ages, very few would interpret the book in connection with human sexuality. Indeed, to do so was dangerous and could result in excommunication or worse (Pope, 112-16). Today, most Christians find such an approach natural and sensible. However, is it correct to interpret the Song in such a “nontheological” manner? Why is a book that has such obviously erotic overtones in the canon?