My Perfect One: Typology and Early Rabbinic Interpretation of Song of Songs

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9780199359332: My Perfect One: Typology and Early Rabbinic Interpretation of Song of Songs

Most studies of the history of interpretation of Song of Songs focus on its interpretation from late antiquity to modernity. In My Perfect One, Jonathan Kaplan examines earlier rabbinic interpretation of this work by investigating an underappreciated collection of works of rabbinic literature from the first few centuries of the Common Era, known as the tannaitic midrashim. In a departure from earlier scholarship that too quickly classified rabbinic interpretation of Song of Songs as allegorical, Kaplan advocates a more nuanced reading of the approach of the early sages, who read Song of Songs through a mode of typological interpretation concerned with the correspondence between Scripture and ideal events in Israel's history. Throughout the book Kaplan explores ways in which this portrayal helped shape a model vision of rabbinic piety as well as of an idealized vision of their beloved, God, in the wake of the destruction, dislocation, and loss the Jewish community experienced in the first two centuries of the Common Era. The archetypal and idealized language of Song of Songs provided, as Kaplan argues, a textual landscape in which to imagine an idyllic construction of Israel's relationship to her beloved, marked by mutual devotion and fidelity. Through this approach to Song of Songs, the Tannaim helped lay the foundations for later Jewish thought of a robust theology of intimacy in God's relationship with the Jewish people.

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About the Author:


Jonathan Kaplan (Ph.D., Harvard University) is an Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Previously he was a Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Postdoctoral Associate in the Judaic Studies Program at Yale University.

Review:


"Song of Songs is love without carpools, in-laws, and budgets, unlike the covenanted love of obligation and loyalty in the rest of Scripture. Later Judaism read Song of Songs as expressing the relationship of God and the Jewish people, fusing intimate love with covenanted love. How did they do that, and why? Kaplan proposes a learned and sensitive answer." --David R. Blumenthal, Jay and Leslie Cohen Professor of Judaic Studies, Emory University


"Jonathan Kaplan has engaged both the figurative playfulness of the text and the daring probes of rabbinic tradition. In doing so he is creative enough that he has not only opened for us some of the history of interpretation, but in his bold proposals is a participant in that ongoing history of interpretation. With immense learning and discerning erudition, Kaplan shows how the Rabbis tilted the poetry toward paradigmatic reference points in Jewish history. His book is an uncommon achievement, and a forceful invitation to engage this text in awareness that 'history' is thick with possibility." --Walter Brueggemann, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary


"Jonathan Kaplan provides a methodologically cautious but deeply enlightening guide to the earliest interpretations of the Song of Songs as a divine love song. Readers of many backgrounds will find that his close, perceptive textual readings open a world of exegetical creativity that lies at the heart of a two-millennia love affair of profound beauty and historical significance." --Steven D. Fraade, Mark Taper Professor of the History of Judaism


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Most studies of the history of interpretation of Song of Songs focus on its interpretation from late antiquity to modernity. In My Perfect One, Jonathan Kaplan examines earlier rabbinic interpretation of this work by investigating an underappreciated collection of works of rabbinic literature from the first few centuries of the Common Era, known as the tannaitic midrashim. In a departure from earlier scholarship that too quickly classified rabbinic interpretation of Song of Songs as allegorical, Kaplan advocates a more nuanced understanding of the approach of the early sages, who read Song of Songs employing typological interpretation in order to correlate Scripture with exemplary events in Israel s history. Throughout the book Kaplan explores ways in which this portrayal helped shape a model vision of rabbinic piety as well as an idealized portrayal of their beloved, God, in the wake of the destruction, dislocation, and loss the Jewish community experienced in the first two centuries of the Common Era. The archetypal language of Song of Songs provided, as Kaplan argues, a textual landscape in which to imagine an idyllic construction of Israel s relationship to her beloved, marked by mutual devotion and fidelity. Through this approach to Song of Songs, the Tannaim helped lay the foundations for later Jewish thought of a robust theology of intimacy in God s relationship with the Jewish people. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199359332

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Most studies of the history of interpretation of Song of Songs focus on its interpretation from late antiquity to modernity. In My Perfect One, Jonathan Kaplan examines earlier rabbinic interpretation of this work by investigating an underappreciated collection of works of rabbinic literature from the first few centuries of the Common Era, known as the tannaitic midrashim. In a departure from earlier scholarship that too quickly classified rabbinic interpretation of Song of Songs as allegorical, Kaplan advocates a more nuanced understanding of the approach of the early sages, who read Song of Songs employing typological interpretation in order to correlate Scripture with exemplary events in Israel s history. Throughout the book Kaplan explores ways in which this portrayal helped shape a model vision of rabbinic piety as well as an idealized portrayal of their beloved, God, in the wake of the destruction, dislocation, and loss the Jewish community experienced in the first two centuries of the Common Era. The archetypal language of Song of Songs provided, as Kaplan argues, a textual landscape in which to imagine an idyllic construction of Israel s relationship to her beloved, marked by mutual devotion and fidelity. Through this approach to Song of Songs, the Tannaim helped lay the foundations for later Jewish thought of a robust theology of intimacy in God s relationship with the Jewish people. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199359332

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