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1 Dr Lloyd Carr The Song of Songs Lecture 3 2011 Lloyd Carr and Ted Hildebrandt One of the major problems of the Song of Solomon is trying to figure out exactly how the piece is structured You have two or three options Most contemporary commentators hold to the position that what we ve got here in this book is really just a collection of isolated poems that have been pulled together on the basis of a common theme that is love poetry but that there s no real unity or cohesiveness in the units They re scattered over a wide variety of individuals individual writers authors different times and places but that somewhere along the line they were collated brought together and organized into the form that we now have them That s a fairly common point of view and there s some ground for it in the parallels for instance in the Egyptian love poetry where we have a number of collections gathered together and then the collections are gathered together For instance in the Egyptian material there s the Chester Beatty songs which have an internal cohesiveness Then there s the series of seven which alternate between the man and the woman speaking back and forth There s the series of other songs that are similar to that that have been collected and then the collections have been brought together I want to come back to that in a few minutes because there s an interesting little piece in the middle of that collection which some have picked up as an interpretive point in the Song of Songs that has something to do with death and funeral arrangements as is quite common in Egypt but we ll come back to that in a couple of minutes The idea here is that these various poems from different places and different times are brought together because they had this common theme of the love relationship That s a very interesting perspective but to me it has a major problem to it One of the things that shows up in the poem very clearly is that there are a large number of very precise repetitions of verses of words and ideas that give the indication to me at least that this piece is very carefully structured it 2 isn t just a haphazard collection and I want to look at that in some detail in a moment or two A second problem dealing with the interpretation of the song or the structure of the song is Is it or is it not unity Second if it s unity if it s one piece from one author or from one particular period does it have any kind of sequential order in it In other words does it go from start to finish But as we said earlier on in this discussion one of the things about the song is that it doesn t work as a drama because there s no

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