Books

The JPS Bible Commentary: Song of Songs

About the Book

Song of Songs is a wondrous collection of love lyrics nestled in the heart of the Hebrew Bible—songs of passion and praise between a young maiden and her beloved. It is religious lyric par excellence. But what is its true meaning? Is it an expression of human love and passion, pure and simple? A celebration of the covenant between God and Israel? Or something else?
The latest volume in the Jewish Publication Society’s highly acclaimed Bible Commentary series, Song of Songs provides a line-by-line commentary of the original Hebrew Bible text, complete with vocalization and cantillation marks, alongside the JPS English translation. Unique to this volume are four layers of commentary: the traditional PaRDeS of  peshat (literal meaning), derash (midrashic and religious-traditional sense), remez (allegorical level), and sod (mystical and spiritual intimations). Michael Fishbane skillfully draws from them all to reveal the extraordinary range of interpretations and ideas perceived in this beloved biblical book. A comprehensive introduction, extensive endnotes, a full bibliography (traditional and modern), and additional explanatory materials are included to enhance the reader’s appreciation of the work.
This original, comprehensive commentary on the Song of Songs interprets historical, critical, and traditional sources drawn from the ancient Near East, the entire spectrum of Jewish sources and commentaries, and modern critical studies.

Praise

This series is an indispensable resource, and Fishbane’s new work is among the most rewarding entries.

—Howard Freedman, jweekly.com

Michael Fishbane, one of the most penetrating Bible scholars of our time, has surpassed himself in this magnificent study of The Song of Songs, combining scholarly erudition, poetic sensibility, theological depth, and an unmatched mastery of the history of interpretation of this most difficult yet lyrical testimony of love. A masterpiece of scholarship!
—Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, emeritus chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth.

Fishbane’s commentary on ‘the great songbook of the Jewish soul’ is a tour de force. There is nothing like it for opening up the inner depths of the biblical dialogue of love.

—Bernard McGinn, Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor emeritus, Divinity School, University of Chicago

Michael Fishbane, PhD

Michael Fishbane, PhD, is one of the foremost Hebrew Bible scholars in the world today and is the Nathan Cummings Professor of Jewish Studies and chair of the Committee on Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago.

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