I searched, but I did not find him

Essay on the history of musical interpretations of the Song of Solomon

More essay than historical account of the Song of Solomon from c. 500 BC to the present day.

Scholars argue about when the Song of Solomon, in Hebrew shir hashirim (I will be corrected), was published in the Latin vulgata translation canticum canticorum (I will be corrected again). Some say it was written in Solomon's time, around 1000 B.C., although they usually exclude the legendary king as the author, although the hypothesis that King Solomon wrote these songs to justify taking an Egyptian princess into his harem has a picturesque charm.
Others call the Persian exile of the Israelite people, around 500 BC, paradise because of some Persian loan words, pardes, for example.
The next consider the third century B.C. most probable because of demonstrable Hellenic influences. Undeniably, some scenes are tailor-made for the theatre, which did not exist in Palestine at that time, but did in Greece.
Some scholars, however, claim that there are parallel passages of Summersian and Egyptian love and sacred rituals - if one can separate them at all in that period - whose evidence goes back to the 15th century BC.

However, compared to the many interpretations that the Song of Songs has had to endure, the disagreement over its authorship is a mere prelude.

Like every piece of high-ranking world literature, the Song of Songs is not exhausted in one level of meaning. Like an opal, it shines in different colours depending on which side you look at it from, which light you shine on it with. To read and understand it as a collection of Porfan love poetry, which it appears to be at first glance, is to sell it far short.

The fact that two lovers, named Solomon and Sulamith, meet in an oriental landscape with Palestinian place names, burst with longing for each other in the budding, blossoming spring, find each other, hide, disappear, search for each other, uncover each other everywhere, in the nowhere of the real place of love, burn each other, indulge in senses ...

...that would be enough for a Nobel Prize in Literature elsewhere, at least for a scholarship. One can expect more from a biblical text than simply good literature. But here God reveals himself, one thinks, at first glance, here nothing is preached, promised, promised, punished - and there is no moralising, not a whiff.

The Song of Songs is a chapter of the Old Testament, after the Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and before the prophetic books, and is thus a cultural treasure of both the Jewish and Christian faiths.

Maunskript zur Sendung


Cast & Crew

Uli Aumüller
Editorial Jounalist
Dorothea Diekmann