The extraordinary and long-lived appeal of The Song of Songs lies in its unmatched lyrical beauty and in its supreme evocation of the moods of sexual love. Perhaps the most famous and popular book of the Bible, it is usually - and yet mistakenly - thought of as a single long narrative poem. Scholars have proposed many theories of the book's structure, but none is more natural than the view that it is a small anthology of quite distinct and varied lyric poems, composed over several centuries of Hebrew history.
Fresh and lyrical, this translation remains the most readable edition available. The poems are set in context by the late Rabbi Dr David Goldstein's revealing introduction, and enhanced with a useful set of notes.
Peter Jay (b.1945) read Classics and English at Oxford, and founded Anvil Press in 1968. He edited The Greek Anthology for Penguin Classics and has translated modern Romanian and Hungarian poetry, including the work of Ana Blandiana. He is the author of Shifting Frontiers (1980), the translator of Gérard de Nerval’s The Chimeras (1984) and the editor, with Caroline Lewis, of Sappho Through English Poetry (1996). He lives in Greenwich.
Rabbi Dr David Goldstein (1933-1987) was Associate Minister at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London. He was co-editor of the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization. His translations of The Jewish Poets of Spain were published by Penguin Classics.
About the Author
Peter Jay is a poet who has translated a variety of ancient and modern poets, including Nerval, Pilinszky, Blandiana and Stanescu. He edited The Greek Anthology (Penguin, 1973). He is the editorial director of Anvil Press.