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The Song of Songs: The World's First Great Love Poem

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Overview

“Next to Genesis, no book in the Hebrew Bible has had a stronger influence on Western literature than the Song of Songs.”
The New York Review of Books

One of the greatest love poems ever written, The Song of Songs celebrates the sexual awakening of a young woman and her lover and the intoxicating experience of falling in love. Composed more than two thousand years ago, this book of the Old Testament is not only an essential religious and literary text, but also a source of ...

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Overview

“Next to Genesis, no book in the Hebrew Bible has had a stronger influence on Western literature than the Song of Songs.”
The New York Review of Books

One of the greatest love poems ever written, The Song of Songs celebrates the sexual awakening of a young woman and her lover and the intoxicating experience of falling in love. Composed more than two thousand years ago, this book of the Old Testament is not only an essential religious and literary text, but also a source of inspiration to modern-day poets and lovers. Enhanced by an Afterword by the esteemed scholar Robert Alter and a new Foreword from the noted translator Stephen Mitchell, this definitive volume showcases Chana Bloch and Ariel Bloch’s sensuous translation which has “a lyrical purity that is delightful” (W. S. Merwin).

This new edition of The Song of Songs offers both a beautiful new translation and a definitive interpretation of this great love poem. The Blochs' translation, a combination of refined poetic resourcefulness and philological precision, brings us closer to the magical freshness of this ancient Hebrew love poetry than has other English versions.

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Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World
A beautifully designed book in which the lyrical translation which reveals the sensuousness of the text is accompanied on facing pages by the Hebrew. Chana Bloch, a spoet, provides an introduction where she discusses the role of women and that of King Solomon in the work. The history of "mistranslations" is also given. The introduction by Ariel Bloch, a professor of Semitics, provides new insights into the text as does that of the essay by Robert Alter.
Library Journal
The Blochs, he a professor of Near Eastern history and she a poet, have teamed up to render a strikingly beautiful translation of this oldest of Western erotic love poems. The Blochs' translation captures the frank sensuality and rich erotic lyricism that earlier translations have often missed. The poem is accompanied by a splendid introduction that traces the social, historical, and literary contexts of the poem. The afterword, by biblical scholar Robert Alter, praises the Blochs' translation by comparing it with older ones, while an exegetical and expository commentary offers readers a chance to see why the translators made certain choices in rendering their version. Evocative lyrics and lucid expositions make the Blochs' offering one of the best of recent versions. Highly recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812976205
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/10/2006
  • Series: Modern Library Classics Series
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 371,572
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Chana Bloch is the author of three books of poems and the translator of Yehuda Amichai and Dahlia Ravikovitch.

Ariel Bloch is professor emeritus of Near Eastern studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Stephen Mitchell‘s many books include the bestselling Tao Te Ching, The Book of Job, The Gospel According to Jesus, Bhagavad Gita, Meetings with the Archangel, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, and Gilgamesh.

Robert Alter is professor of Hebrew and comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of many books, including The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2013

    Most beautiful translation of this poem

    Finally a husband and wife team tackle the most misunderstood book in the Bible-the Song of Songs

    I would recommend this for any home church or esoteric group willing to peel back the layers in the canon and view this poem almost directly from its original language

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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