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The Song of Songs: Beautiful Bodies, Erotic Desire and Intoxicating Pleasure by Karl Möller

<em>The Song of Songs: Beautiful Bodies, Erotic Desire and Intoxicating Pleasure</em> by Karl Möller<strong><em><br /></em></strong>

Unusually for this column, a second book from the same author. This time Möller turns his innovative approach to the Song of Songs.

Hard is it might seem to believe, at one time the Song was a preachers’ favourite – there are many Latin manuscripts expounding the book. The trend among early Christians to decry the body and bodily desire ensured the Song’s demise. Möller seeks to reinstate it as a poem about sexuality and mutual love, though he begins with ‘A Time to Lament’ the harm that damaging attitudes toward sexuality in the church have caused others, and our alienation from our body among a list of thought-provoking troubles.

This is a challenging and bold book that seeks to redress the imbalance between spirit and body from which Christians have long suffered. Once again, the questions for reflection at the end of each chapter are well-considered and useful.

Despite the almost joyful attempt to review the Song as a poem about physical love, Möller ends his book pastorally. In contrast to contemporary attitudes beyond the church, he helpfully reminds readers that ‘sexuality can cause severe pain,’ and that the church needs to present singleness alongside marriage as a wholesome lifestyle.

Sometimes Grove books live up to the Grove strapline: ‘not the last word … but often the first.’ Standing against traditionally held views of The Song of Songs, this book certainly does.

Review by Liz Shercliff, Reviews and resources Editor

 

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