In this Book

The Voice of My Beloved
summary

The Song of Songs, eight chapters of love lyrics found in the collection of wisdom literature attributed to Solomon, is the most enigmatic book of the Bible. For thousands of years Jews and Christians alike have preserved it in the canon of scripture and used it in liturgy. Exegetes saw it as a central text for allegorical interpretations, and so the Song of Songs has exerted an enormous influence on spirituality and mysticism in the Western tradition.

In the Voice of My Beloved, E. Ann Matter focuses on the most fertile moment of Song of Songs interpretation: the Middle Ages. At least eighty Latin commentaries on the text survive from the period. In tracing the evolution of these commentaries, Matter reveals them to be a vehicle for expressing changing medieval ideas about the church, the relationship between body and soul, and human and divine love. She shows that the commentaries constitute a well-defined genre of medieval Latin literature. And in discussing the exegesis of the Song of Songs, she takes into account the modern exegesis of the book and feminist critiques of the theology embodied in the text.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Contents
  2. p. vii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Abbreviations
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. The Vulgate Text of the Song of Songs
  2. pp. xv-xxxvi
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  1. 1 Introduction to the Genre
  2. pp. 3-19
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  1. 2 Hidden Origins: The Legacy of Alexandria
  2. pp. 20-48
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  1. 3 The Key to the Code: Allegory and the Song of Songs
  2. pp. 49-85
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  1. 4 The Song of Songs as the Changing Portrait of the Church
  2. pp. 86-122
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  1. 5 The Marriage of the Soul
  2. pp. 123-150
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  1. 6 The Woman Who is the All: The Virgin Mary and the Song of Songs
  2. pp. 151-177
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  1. 7 The Genre as Trope: The Song of Songs in the Vernacular
  2. pp. 178-200
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 201-202
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  1. Appendix: Latin Commentary on the Song of Songs to 1200
  2. pp. 203-210
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  1. Index of Biblical References
  2. p. 210
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  1. Index of Manuscripts
  2. pp. 214-215
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  1. Index of Modern Scholars
  2. pp. 216-220
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  1. General Index
  2. pp. 221-227
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