Song and Image: Veiling

Terracotta mask of woman to hips, East Greek, 4th-3rd c. BC. From Karl Galinsky: “A billowing veil rises behind her head; at her right breast she holds a flower with her right hand, and a small bird is perched on her left hand below her left breast. These iconographic details are not inconsistent with an interpretation of the figure as Aphrodite.”¹
  • 4:3. Like a crimson thread are your lips (your words are lovely). Like a pomegranate torn open is your temple behind your veil.
  • 6:7. Like a pomegranate torn open is your temple behind your veil.
  • 5:7b (JPS): The guards of the walls stripped me of my mantle.
  • 5:7b (Blochs): They tore the shawl from my shoulders, those watchmen of the walls.
  • 4:1 (KJV): Thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks.
  • 4:1 (D-R): Thy eyes are doves’ eyes, besides what is hid within.
  • 4:1 (Blochs): The doves of your eyes looking out from the thicket of your hair.
Yemenite wedding photographed by Yehiel Haibi (San’a, 1930s)
John Gorman, Three Studies of Moses, 2021. From Delphine Costedoat: “It [Moses’s heart] allows Moses to be naked, a not entirely nude figure. Veiled. Clothed in its nakedness.”
  1. Bloch, Ariel A., and Chana Bloch. The Song of Songs: A New Translation with an Introduction and Commentary (University of California Press, 1998), 166–168.
  2. Shout out to Emanuel (@ptsdboy).
  3. See Wacks, David A. “Between Secular and Sacred: The Song of Songs in the Work of Abraham Ibn Ezra.” Wine, Women and Song: Hebrew and Arabic Literature of Medieval Iberia (2004): 55.
  4. Fishbane, Michael. JPS Bible Commentary: Song of Songs (Jewish Publication Society, 2015), 102, 231 n. 3.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Gregory of Nyssa: Homilies on the song of songs. Vol. 13 (SBL Press, 2012), 231.
  7. See Drake, Susanna. “Origen’s Veils: The Askēsis of Interpretation.” Church History 83, no. 4 (2014): 815–42.
  8. In his comments on 1:7, Book II section 4.
  9. Refer for instance to Munro, Jill M. Spikenard and saffron: the imagery of the Song of Songs. (A&C Black, 1995), 52.
  10. Bloch, The Song of Songs: A New Translation, 5.
  11. Wolfson, Elliot R. “Language, Eros, Being.” In Language, Eros, Being (Fordham University Press, 2009), 17.
  12. Ibid, 224.
  13. Exum, J. Cheryl. Song of Songs: A commentary. (Presbyterian Publishing Corp, 2005), 162
  14. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, Moses: A Human Life (Yale University Press, 2016), 78.



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J. N.

J. N.

Theology, Hermeneutics, Jewish Mysticism | Oberlin 2022