Friday, October 1, 2010

Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon, a widely read and celebrated romantic poem in Western literature, considered biblical erotica.

The Song of Songs of Solomon is an echo from the time before sexual love was relegated to the realm of the profane: which is why it has been so difficult for so many people to read it as a poem that is both sexual and spiritual.

As the Christian gospel spread throughout the surrounding Hellenic culture, it was blended with a dualism of body and spirit that was very uncharacteristic of Judaism. It was from Hellenism and gnosticism that Christianity picked up the notions that sexuality and spirituality are incompatible; that celibacy is more pleasing to God than marriage; that Jesus could not be both holy and sexual. But these were inversions of the earliest expressions of Christianity.


Image Source

To highlight Mary's chastity, her effigy is surrounded by two of the classical symbols of Our Lady's virginity, namely: 
  • Hortus conclusus
    (enclosed garden)
  • Fons signatus
    (sealed fountain)
Both symbols appear in the Song of Songs, "You are. . . my bride, an enclosed garden, a fountain sealed." (Canticle 4, 12).
The typical half-image of Mother and child form the crown of a tree which bears simultaneously, flowers and fruit.  They are symbols of Mary's role as simultaneously virgin (flower) and mother (fruit).

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