Song of Songs

by Paul J. Griffiths


240pp.  $32.99

Publication Date: June 2011

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Paul J. Griffiths (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Warren Professor of Catholic Theology at Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. He is the author or coauthor of many books, including Intellectual Appetite, Reason and the Reasons of Faith, and An Apology for Apologetics: A Study in the Logic of Interreligious Dialogue.

Endorsements & Reviews

“Griffiths provides a wonderful commentary on the New Vulgate text of the Song of Songs. Readers will benefit from his introduction defending the value of the study of translations, his close study of the translation he has chosen, and his theological interpretations of Christ and the church. His review of major Christian interpreters of the Song throughout the history of the church is most valuable.”—Richard S. Hess, Earl S. Kalland Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Denver Seminary

“One of the fascinating, even if rather unusual, aspects of this commentary is that it takes the New Vulgate of the Catholic Church as its starting point. . . . At the same time, Griffiths’ careful attention to philological detail throughout the commentary does make for fascinating exegetical results—and interesting insights into the meaning of the Song. One of the most intriguing elements of the commentary is the way in which Griffiths links the surface meaning of the text theologically to the relationship between God and his people. . . . For Griffiths, as for many premodern readers, it is the Scripture text that determines which interpretations fall within one’s plausible parameters. Far from being arbitrary, figural reading takes the canonical context—and in particular Scripture’s own description of God’s self-disclosure in Christ—as determinative for its understanding of the revelatory text. Griffiths’ commentary thus offers us a wonderful sample of how we may continue to read the Song of Songs as sacred Scripture.”—Hans Boersma, Calvin Theological Journal

“Paul Griffiths . . . intends his commentary to be read by Christian laymen and laywomen today, in an age when the sacramental nature of marriage urgently needs rediscovery and reaffirmation. . . . A new ‘figural’ reading of the Song of Songs . . . offers a model for reordering our human loves. And this is precisely what Griffiths offers. . . . [He] offers his own English translation of the New Vulgate Song of Songs, and the translation and his justification for it are among the book’s most valuable features. . . . The grammar of love that guides Paul Griffiths’ profound reading of the Song of Songs schools us in an urgently needed unforgetting.”—Ann W. Astell, First Things

“The Song [is] among the most commented upon books in the last two thousand years. Griffiths makes an admirable contribution to this long tradition. . . . In addition to reading the Song as one between a lover and beloved, Griffiths also reads the Song as between Christ and Israel/the Church, God and Mary, and God and the individual. His efforts here draw out fascinating—though never fanciful—comments. . . . There is much to celebrate, from a Reformed point of view, in Griffiths’ exposition of the Song. . . . Griffiths’ own delightful writing admirably draws us into the kiss of the Song, the Song which sings of the great love of God for us, a love stronger than death (Song 8:6).”—Steve Harris, Christian Courier