In her foreword to this paperback, Cynthia Bourgeault points out that for centuries rabbis and celibate monks saw the sexual imagery of the Song of Songs as allegorical. She has long had an interest in exploring this text further with an emphasis on its erotic and mystical meanings. She lauds Rami Shapiro's new translations and concludes:
"The Song of Songs, in its own voice, is something so universally true and spiritually luminous that it eventually wins over all but the most puritanically repressed to its own elusive charm."
In his notes to the text, the prolific and multitalented Rami Shapiro discusses the author of the Song of Songs, the use of the text's imagery of physical love and sexual union to express spiritual awakening, why the Bible needs the Song of Songs, and the message of seeing God through our flesh. He writes:
"I am reading the Song of Songs as an allegory of love between Wisdom and the seeker of Wisdom, a celebration of the psychosexual-spiritual awakening to the unity of God, woman, man, and nature when a seeker of Wisdom embraces and is embraced by Wisdom herself. As such, the sexual union at the heart of the Song is vitally important."
Shapiro's commentary is rich with multifaith insights and his own Jewish perspective. Most intriguing of all is an end-piece title "The Path of Ecstasy: How to Use the Song of Songs." Here he melds body, mind, and soul in a quest for erotic pleasure and ecstasy.