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Song of Songs: 7 (Anchor Bible) [Hardcover]

Marvin H. Pope


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell; Reissue edition (11 July 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385005695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385005692
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.5 x 5.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,762,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mission of Gender Reconciliation 29 May 2001
By Jedidiah Palosaari - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
After reading this text I came to the conclusion that Song of Songs is *the* most missiological book in the Old Testament. Pope translates the text directly, free of the normal curtailing of language that occurs in English translations in order to protect pseudo-Puritan American sensibilities. As such it is a much more moving, poetic, and graphic collection of poems. "My lover thrust his "hand" through the "hole", and my inwards seethed for him." The description of part of the man is not "slabs of ivory", but "an ivory tusk". In this focus on being more true to the original text Pope reveals some key aspects of the Hebrew mindset which we could all learn from. Far from the traditional Christian perspective of these latter days of downplaying sexuality, of thinking it as somehow unclean though never saying so outright, God's desire is for us to revel in it and celebrate it. He created us as holistic beings, the only true amphibians, being both spiritual and physical, and thus capable of enjoying what he created to a much greater degree. The author of Song of Songs revealed years before contemporary psychology that sexuality is an integral part of eros love, not to be denied, but celebrated.

Throughout the translation one also gets the distinct impression of the empowerment of the woman. While this is certainly present in other translations, it comes through all the more clearly in Pope.

"Our sister is young
And breasts she has none.
What will we do for our sister
On the day she is bespoken?
If she be a wall,
We will build on her a silver buttress.
If she be a door,
We will close her with a cedar board."

"I am a wall,And my breasts are like towers.
Thus have I become in his eyes
As one producing peace."

While the woman's brothers would seek to constrain and control her, she speaks out and states that she has the control, turning the wall metaphor on it's head. While they would belittle her physical manifestations of womanhood, she proclaims to all the world that she is all woman, and beautiful, betraying a clear confidence in herself and her body.

Repeatedly the man and woman within these poems show their care for each other- not just for their bodies, and not just for their souls, but for the entire being, as one. In Pope one sees clearly here an image, a foretaste, of true gender reconciliation, as existed once before the fall, and was not to be fully realized until Christ came and sat down at a well in the desert. The both encourage each other to grow, and love each other fully as beautiful in entirety. Since Song of Songs is a collection of poems, it tells not a story so much of what is, but like all great poetry, of what might be. It does not seem to describe the reality of gender interaction at the time it was written, but what was yearned for, for what might be. This it does beautifully, such that one thirsts for this reality as one reads it. And I believe this is what makes it missiological- it preaches a reality that one day could be, will be, should be, though the author can have no awareness at that time of what Jesus will come to offer.

One would wish that Pope's translation was available without the commentary, that it would be read more often by the layman who might be stymied by the length of the work. But the commentary is indeed excellent as well. After the translation, Pope goes on to present alternative scenarios for understanding Song of Songs, and then an exhaustive and impressive line by line analysis of the entire book. His analysis adds greatly to a thorough appreciation of this inspired work.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for any serious research on the Song! 1 Aug 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Pope's work is the standard by which all commentaries on the Song of Songs are judged. While the work is huge, bulky and a bit intimidating, its extensive discussion is the best reference one can find on every (and I do mean EVERY) aspect of the Song.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding reference 26 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have been working on a research paper on the Song of Songs and feel extremely fortunate to have found Pope's reference. It is exhaustive, interesting and helpful. The most amazing section is his bibliography and list of translations of publications on the Song of Songs, dating back to ancient manuscripts. Excellent.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific deal 28 May 2013
By Mary Nichols - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
These _Anchor Bible_ commentaries are very expensive to buy new. This was a nice copy to start my own collection at an excellent price. Hoping to run onto more volumes!
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