The Wisdom of Love in ‘The Song of Songs’

Reynolds offers a fresh interpretation of this sensual and mysterious poem in the Old Testament, long considered the most important book of the Hebrew Scriptures but nowadays relatively unknown. While a number of interpretations of The Song of Songs have evolved over time, each has focused on its allegorical rather than its narrative meaning. The Wisdom of Love in The Song of Songs shifts this interpretative focus by proposing that once the human (narrative) story is clear only one interpretation of its spiritual meaning makes sense.

The book includes a complete reproduction of the verses from The Song of Songs and colour and black and white images.

ISBN: 978-0-9956478-2-4
Format: Hardback, quarter cloth binding
Dimensions: 240 x 170 mm
Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: 01/06/2018
Genre: Theology
£25.00

Reviews

Dr Gillow Reynolds has explored a difficult and controversial subject with great depth and insight; bringing his vast knowledge of art, literature, medieval mystics, psychology, the classics and not least the Bible to analyse the Song of Solomon, a poem that has exercised great minds for centuries. His unique approach is refreshing and accessible, often humourous. The link between the spiritual and the erotic shines through the pages of this book. Honouring our sexuality as a God given gift, and the place and dignity of the feminine as equal partners is secured by the scope of research. The Wisdom of Love in the Song of Songs can be appreciated at many levels: as love poem itself, based on the Song, extolling the joy and suffering of sexual relations; as an allegory for Solomon’s search for wisdom, personified in the soul-mate he loves; as a metaphor for the relationship between God and the soul echoed in mystical erotic writing through the centuries; or as a journey in search of our true selves where the masculine and feminine are married within. Dr Gillow Reynolds’ book goes beyond the 10,000 year history of duality of male and female to a wholeness expressed in the Song. A wholeness which has room for both eros, fidelity, wisdom and love-led relationship, friendship and passion. Like the ‘wise scribe’ who ‘brought forth things both new and old’ whom Jesus praised in the Gospel, Dr Gillow Reynolds has given us a new wine from a very old tradition. In this book he has served it again in a new wine skin, making the precious vintage of ‘the song of songs’ available- and enjoyable – today. I strongly recommend it.

Johanna O’Mahony Walters, author of They Dared to be Different: Pioneering Women

 

Dr Gillow Reynolds’ book on The Song of Songs is truly a tour de force, and deserves to be read by all who are willing to have their hearts and  minds stretched and enlarged.  The poem, he argues is not  fragmentary, “only snippets of a dream-like conversation” as is often thought,  and therefore  beyond possible reconstruction, but has a story, albeit a fictional one, set within the time of Solomon, and written more than 500 years after Solomon.   The story can be told as the tragedy of a king who falls in love with a humble country girl, whose feeling for him is also passionate and intense, transcending normal social conventions of the day, and therefore ultimately doomed.  Dr Gillow Reynolds argues that this story has to be read literally first, only then can it truly form the foundation for the symbolic and metaphorical meaning of the relationship between God and humanity. Dr Gillow Reynolds shows convincingly that the non-duality of love is guided in the Song by the feminine figure of sapientia to be found in other wisdom texts of the Bible. The Wisdom of Love in the Song of Songs is a book for scholars and for a more general readership, that will be a great help in bringing the Song back to life today. It is a book written with passion – heart and soul – like the Song itself.

Graeme Watson, author of The Song of Songs : A Contemplative Guide

 

 

About the Author

Stefan Gillow Reynolds is Retreat Director at Mount Melleray Abbey, Co Waterford, Ireland. He has a PhD from London University in Christian Spirituality, as well as two MA’s in History of Christianity and in Inter-Religious Dialogue. Author of Living with the Mind of Christ : Mindfulness in Christian Spirituality (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2016), he teaches Christian Meditation in a contemporary context and leads retreats internationally. He also paints Icons and writes poetry.