Le Cantique des cantiques, RBSem 25

R. Meynet, Le Cantique des cantiques, RBSem 25, Peeters, Leuven 2020 (237 p.)

The Canticle is not a conglomeration of fifty little love songs. It is a skilfully architected composition, even if it is not easily discovered. The book is analyzed here at all levels of its organization, according to the procedures of biblical rhetorical analysis, now well established and recognized. This composition combines the greatest simplicity and the most thorough elaboration.

However, if knowledge of its composition is indispensable for a better understanding of such a text, it is not enough. It is also necessary to grasp the typological relationships that it weaves with other books of the Bible. First of all, it represents a rereading of the original story, the lovers of the Song being the antitype of the first couple; they establish a dialogue that Adam and Eve had not been able to establish. The Song is also closely related to the texts of the prophets of the exile who present the relationship between God and his people as a matrimonial alliance. The same thread continues in the New Testament, where Christ binds himself with love for the Church, up to the wedding of the Lamb and the heavenly Jerusalem, with which the Christian Bible ends in the Apocalypse.

Thus, the classical opposition between naturalistic or erotic reading and spiritualist or allegorical reading is overcome. The interpretation that sees in the Song both, and inseparably, a song of love between man and woman and between God and his people, is not the result of a second reading, unduly added by generations later than that of the author. It can be recognized in the text itself. The spiritual meaning is an integral part of the literal meaning. The love between man and woman is of the same nature as the love between God and men.

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