Francis Landy (Paradoxes of Paradise: Identity and Difference in the Song of Songs (Bible and Literature Series)) argues that the phrase shalhebetyah in Song of Songs 8:6 should be taken as a reference to Yah’s own flame, and he connects the fire of Yah in the sanctuary with the fire of Yah in the love between lovers:
“For in Israel, in the dialectics of king and kingdom, the flame of God is constantly alight only on the altar at its centre; it communicates between heaven and earth . . . In the sanctuary, the union and differentiation of lovers is a collective process; there, symbolically, the wealth of the kingdom is reduced to ashes, merged with the divine flame, and renewed. God, the source of life, is indwelling in the land, and guarantees its continuance. The shrine is thus the matrix, an inner confine, and the earth, the generative flame. There the king and the Beloved participate in the creative current that infuses the lovers at the centre of their world.”
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm
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