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The Song of Songs' Cautionary Message Concerning Human Love


George M. Schwab

The Song of Songs is a collection of love poems written to explore and celebrate human love. Within the positive endorsement of human sexuality and affection lies a secondary, but important, element of sapiential instruction – the conception of love as dangerous, powerful, threatening to marriage, and potentially harmful to the individual lover. This reading of the Song is set in the context of the Old Testament, Jewish traditional writings, and the New Testament. It is discovered that this understanding of love is constant throughout this literature, and especially characteristic of wisdom texts. Love, while joyously celebrated, is also a dangerous threat to human life, a power that must be respected.