Archive for October 5th, 2009
At the end of last week, I made the long trek up to Dingwall for the HTC postgraduate conference. This was a small gathering (even more so than usual, for various reasons) but nevertheless a useful and encouraging time. There was one prospective and four current PhD students present which gave lots of opportunity to discuss issues related to being a research student, publishing, networking and getting jobs, as well as our own research. I was the only biblical scholar in a room of systematic and historical theologians, so I had a good workout for my memory as I tried to listen and make sensible comments on such matters as the will of God, Calvin’s view of body and soul, and the incarnation.
I also had chance to meet up with my supervisor and talk about progress thus far. He’s happy with where things are at the moment and is pleased with the work I’ve produced. Among other things we outlined a provisional schedule for work to be done. I’m encouraged that, despite the difficulties of the past year, it looks like things are still on track to be completed in a reasonable time frame.
The chapter that I’m working on at the moment is one of three that will look at the effect of reading the Song of Songs in different canonical contexts: wisdom literature; writings/megilloth; Christian bible. It’s a fun exercise in intertextuality which is already producing some interesting results. For instance, it’s relatively easy to read the bride in the Song as Lady Wisdom, but it’s almost as easy to read her as the Foreign Woman/Adulteress. It’s almost as if the Song is a test of the wisdom learned in Proverbs – can you distinguish what sort of woman this is? Or is the reality that It’s Always More Complicated and that wisdom and folly are not so easily separated as Proverbs would have us believe? The plan is to do a close intertextual reading of three pairs of texts: Proverbs 5 and Song 4; Proverbs 7 and Song 2; and Sirach 24 and Song 7; and use this to build up a picture of the woman in the Song, then to turn my attention to the male figure(s) -Solomon, shepherd, king – and do similar intertextual work, before putting it all together. Something like that, anyway. The idea is to repeat the exercise in each of the three contexts, identifying different significant intertexts which will lead to differences in the interpretation of the Song.