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My Perfect OneTypology and Early Rabbinic Interpretation of Song of Songs$
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Jonathan Kaplan

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199359332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199359332.001.0001

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Song of Songs and Israel’s National Narrative

Song of Songs and Israel’s National Narrative

(p.47) 2 Song of Songs and Israel’s National Narrative
My Perfect One

Jonathan Kaplan

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 outlines the various processes of figuration and pre-figuration employed in the tannaitic midrashim in order to correlate Song of Songs to archetypal events in Jewish history, particularly the exodus, the Sinai theophany, and the wilderness experience. While there is a degree of fluidity in the interpretations of Song of Songs in this corpus, all of the texts fall under the broad rubric of interpreting this work as referring to Israel’s ideal national historical narrative. In doing so, the early rabbinic sages sought to valorize Israel’s past, to interpret and shape their community’s present circumstances, and to imagine the future relationship of exemplary Israel with her beloved.

Keywords:   Song of Songs, national historical narrative, midrash, exodus, Sinai theophany

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