- Series: Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Book 19)
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: IVP Academic (May 18, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0830842195
- ISBN-13: 978-0830842193
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,323,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Song of Solomon (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries)
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"The Tyndale volumes have long been the premier shorter-length commentary series on both Testaments throughout the English-speaking world." (Craig Blomberg, Denver Seminary)
"Tyndale commentaries are always useful, not least because they focus so clearly on the text of Scripture, and do not fall into the trap of paying too much attention to other commentaries and not enough to the scriptural text they are intended to expound and explain. So they retain their usefulness for preachers, Bible study leaders and for all readers of the Bible." (Peter Adam, principal, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia)
"Within its constraints, this series includes some outstanding volumes." (D. A. Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
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About the Author
Carr (Ph. D., Boston University) is professor of biblical and theological studies and chairman of the division of humanities at Gordon College in Massachusetts.
Top customer reviews
Here are a few examples of what I mean.
On the dating of the Song of Songs, Carr surveys the major views on the dating of Song of Songs, touching on the concept that more critical scholars hold to dating it to 3rd or 4th century B.C., gives their reasons for this view and the basic criticism of the view (parts of Song of Songs have been discovered in Qumran-and some language is clearly much older). He also covers the idea that some scholars date Song of Songs to the second or third millenium basically because some similar love poetry existed in that time period and explains why it is probably not the answer. He goes on and lays out a view that it may have been written in the time period close to Solomon because of specific grammatical terms that are used in Song of Songs (these terms are transliterated and explained). He covers a range of issues in this 1984 (first edition) copy that include ancient near east literary review, comparison with Hebrew language and it's development, references to Aramaic, Ugaritic, and an overall sense is given when reading him that Carr knows his stuff. He refers the reader to other larger treatments of the subject at hand. BTW-the reviewer on Amazon here who says 'we know now that Song of Songs' was written in the third or fourth century is writing from a narrow perspective and is betrayed by a bias towards scholars who may have a difficult time harmonizing their view with some of Carr's observations. To review Carr, criticize him for his dating issue, but not deal with his reasons for rejecting the view wasn't very good in my opinion and prompted me to write my review.
Another example of Carr: He gives the four major views of Song of Songs: Allegory, Typology, Drama, Natural. He basically says- the book is about what it seems to be about. He takes a more literal view of everything, and skillfully interprets rather difficult terms throughout the book. Carr gives about 14 pages of material with a well written summary of each of the four views. I think he defends his view well, and anyone who is a thoughtful and open reader will have to dig deep to challenge him. In my view, he's a good summary of authors like Longman and Hess (both have fuller commentaries on Song of Songs worth owning).
If you lay open a copy of the Song of Songs, read it through, then look at Carr on anything that seems unclear, he is very helpful, yet can get technical without wasting a lot of time.
His analysis of the structure of the book is as follows:
2:8-3:5 Found, and Lost - and Found
5:2-8:4 Lost - and Found
Technical and very important terms:
Take Song of Songs 5:4. Watchman Nee identifies the hand in 5:4 as the 'nail pierced' hand of Jesus. The same hand that held the head of the woman earlier in the book. Jeanne Guyon cites Job 19 in referencing the 'hand of God' dealing with resistance.
Carr takes a more natural approach admitting 'yad' normally means hand, but then goes on to remind us that 'yad' means pillar in 1 & 2 Samuel and Isaiah (1x in each book). These stone pillars are rounded at the top and were worship devices. The pillars were a 'phallic representation' that sets up the next thing in the book. Without repeating his argument, he basically says these verses are about the couple having sex and that the word 'yad' is a euphemism for the male sexual organ based on ancient context, culture, religious use of the word 'yad' in the bible and the natural or literal reading of the text.
This is typical of Carr.
Personally I find any commentary of Song of Songs that fails to take into account the style and linguistic approach of similar material from the ancient world, to be unconvincing. I do think that we ought to bear in mind the New Testament clearly argues that marriage is a reference to Christ and the Church. I think that ought to drive us to see parallels and meaning in the Song of Songs. But we ought to be careful that we don't end up sexualizing our view of the Church and Christ. Therefore, analogies shouldn't be pushed too hard or in too much detail in my view.
This doesn't negate the interesting and sometimes well thought out views of authors who allegorize or use typology throughout. Some of their thoughts are noble and can be very helpful. But the method of handling scripture they employ is difficult to defend, unless the reader has a personal revelation from the Lord as some of these authors claim they have had personally.
I think it's very important to listen to the voices that have sought to find Christ in the pages of Song of Solomon. Many who write on this topic today (see Mike Bickle as an example) have acknowledged the literal or natural view in the introductions of their writings. Yet, the grasp of ancient context must not be abandoned when so much scholarship has given us a better understanding of things today than were held by students of the bible 3 or 4 centuries ago.
So if you are going after the true message of the Song of Songs, I would encourage you to use Carr. He's well written and interacts with ancient literature in a way that allows us to see his key reasons for the decisions he makes with the meaning of critical nouns in this book. That can turn the entire meaning on it's head, and so careful attention to the intended meaning of the nouns is crucial.
The Canticles are attributed to Solomon, son of David, king of Israel c.970-c.930 BC. In the Bible he's traditionally associated with The Song of Solomon (Canticles), Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs. His alleged wisdom is illustrated by the Judgement of Solomon. It doesn't mean necessarily that Solomon actually wrote them. In those days it was custom to ascribe some anonymous books to a famous person.
The Canticles is a collection of love songs written in such way that the reader gets the impression to be a participant in a feast or a wedding feast. It's a dialogue, presented as love songs, between a man and a woman. That sounds obvious but it isn't because it's not clear who they really are. The Jews say that he and she are God and Israel. According to the Christians they symbolize Christ and the Church and yet another explanation says they are God and the Soul.
Today we know that Solomon was not the author, the Canticum was written in the third century BC.
The Canticles (or Canticum, Song of Solomon, Canticum Canticorum.) are not a story but a collection of songs. It provides tools to improve our knowledge of God's intentions and at the same time to understand better our own thoughts and fears.
The "Canticles" is easy to read when you take the words literally. But when you search for a deeper meaning it can be very difficult.