Study Guide

Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) Allusions

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Literary and Philosophical References

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet 

Take a gander at this passage from Song of Songs 2:10-12

My beloved speaks and says to me:
"Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle-dove
is heard in our land."

Got it? Now compare it to this one from Romeo and Juliet:

With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls;
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do that dares love attempt

Not too far off, eh?

We've got an under-the-radar meeting of the lovers at the woman's house, and the two lovers plan to dash into the magical land of infatuation that colors their perceptions of true nature. We're not saying that Shakespeare stole from the Bible, but… okay, maybe he did.

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
Toni Morrison's novel about a man named Milkman is just as much about love as the Song of Songs—maybe that's why she chose the title? Morrison even names her characters after biblical characters. We're pretty sure she's trying to draw a comparison here.

Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
Just like Song of Songs, The Miller's Tale and The Knight's Tale both reflect on the nature of love. And we're pretty sure our buddy Chaucer had the Bible on the brain.

Pop Culture References

Keeping Mum (2005) 
In this British film with the hilarious Rowan Atkinson and Dame Maggie Smith (oh, and Patrick Swayze?!), the Song of Songs gets some major shout-outs. Sex and God have never been so combined or so funny.

"Shaday," Ofra Haza 
One of Israel's most celebrated songwriters, Ofra Haza wrote "Shaday," which is littered with references to the Song of Songs. Can you catch 'em all?

Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, Johann Sebastian Bach
If you're in the mood for a zesty 18th-century cantata, look no further. Bach might have been drawing mostly from the Jesus side of things, but if you listen closely, you'll hear some major Song of Songs up in there.

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