The Song of Songs and the SacredMarriage

This lesson is really a research “journey.”  But it’s easy to complete. Simply read all of the following and see the instructions at the verybottom of the page.

1.  The list of excerpts and quotes on this page (see below) 
2.  Mary as Goddess:Bride
3.  The Songof Songs, also called Song of Solomon and Canticles in the Bible.

The following list of Excerpts and quotes is from

The Song of Songs in Many Places

“It has been suggested that the Song of Songs was originally the librettoof a small opera, a little Hellenistic drama cast in the manner of the day.Jewish synagogue paintings of the second century appear to be representationsof plays that were sometimes performed in front of synagogues, and the Songof Songs has a stage-like air about it.”

– John Romer, Testament

“The likeliest origin for this book [Song of Songs] is a collection of secularlove poetry which later readers tired to present as a religious, not an erotic,text. To support their new reading, they ascribed the book to King Solomon,perhaps during the third century BC.”

– Robin Lane Fox, The Unauthorized Version

“When Solomon grew old his wives swayed his heart to other gods; and hisheart was not wholly with Yahweh his God as his father David’s had been.Solomon became a follower of Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians.”

– 1 Kings 9: 4-5

“In ancient Tyre, Astarte was known by the sobriquets ‘Queen of Heaven’ and’Star of the Sea’ or ‘Stella Maris’…Astarte was worshipped conventionally’on the high places’; hilltops and mountains – Mount Hermon, for example- abounded with her shrines.”

“Indeed, the famous ‘Song of Solomon’ itself is a hymn to Astarte, and aninvocation of her:…”

– Baigent & Leigh, The Temple and the Lodge

“Come from Lebanon, my promised bride, come from Lebanon, come on your way.
Lower your gaze, from the heights of Amana, from the crests of Senir andHermon.”

“In both the Song of Songs and the Sumerian Sacred Marriage songs…the loveris designated as both king and shepherd, and the beloved is not only his’bride’, but also his ‘sister’….From Mesopotamia the theme of the deathof Dumuzi and his resurrection spread to Palestine, where we find the womenof Jerusalem bewailing Tammuz at the very gates of the Jerusalem Temple.”

– Samuel Noah Kramer, History Begins at Sumer

“Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of theLord; and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then he said to me,’Have you seen this, O son of Man? You will see still greater abominationsthan these!’

“And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and, behold,at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, wereabout five and twenty men, with their back toward the temple of the Lord,and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.Then he said to me, ‘Have you seen this, O son of man?…Lo, they stretchout the erect phallus before them.” (RSV: “put the branch to their nose”)

– Ezekiel 8.14-17

“The bearing of the phallus was a marked feature of the Dionysiacprocessionals…”

– John M. Allegro, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross

“…On the sarcophagus of King Ahiram of Byblos (c. 1000 B.C.) women mournerslacerate their bare breasts and perform a ritual dance, represented by theirflounced skirts.”

– John Gray, Near Eastern Mythology

INSTRUCTIONS:  After reading all of the above, including theitems listed at the very top of the page, please choose one or two of thequotes above and elaborate on them.  Tell why you find that quote/excerptintriguing (or annoying if that’s the case!).  Write something up –at least three paragraphs — giving your opinion(s) about what you’ve read. Be sure to list any nifty connections, insights or conclusions you’vecome to in the process of this Song of Songs researching you’ve been doinghere. Send your short written piece to theAbbey Council with subject line,Song of Songs Musings from ________ (your name).

See what other OMM clergymembers havewritten for this assignment.

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