10th century BCE
SONG OF SONGS, the book of the Hebrew Bible which normally follows Job in the Hagiographa and precedes the Book of Ruth. It thus stands first among the Five Scrolls.
The Bible, because of its primary concern with religious themes, contains poetry which deals principally with sacred topics in hymns, laments, songs of praise and thanksgiving, etc. There are also a number of songs with a secular flavor and dealing with the more mundane affairs of life scattered through its pages, but the Song of Songs is unique in the Bible, for nowhere else within it can be found such a sustained paean to the warmth of love between man and woman. It is completely occupied with that one theme. No morals are drawn; no prophetic preachments are made. Perhaps more than any other biblical book, the Song presents a picture of “gender mutuality” (Meyers). The female lover is given more lines to speak than the male, and the presence of the “daughters of Jerusalem” is most prominent. It is likely that several of the poems originated among women bards.
How far back?
2020 | Present