Professor of History of Christianity
at the University of Catania
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IPL, Milano 1985, pp. 92


It may come as a surprise to some that, among writings which in Jewish and Christian tradition are considered to contain the word of God, can be found a short work which deals in such a graphic manner with the physical love between a man and a woman. The Canticle of Canticles is a collection of wedding poems which describe the feelings which go hand in hand with this love. These feelings are described in bold and exaggerated terms. Even by today's standards, the language used in this book of the Bible is brazen and unrestrained. How does one explain the presence of such work in Holy Scripture? The anomaly can be explained by entering into the mentality of the Old Testament. There the basics of human life such as food, health, beauty, strength, prosperity, land, home, water, wine, and bread are all understood as a gift of God and a guarantee of continued life and victory over death. Physical love between a man and woman, with all its intensity and immediacy, is simply seen as one of the most efficacious of these signs.