Item Details

Watching the Watchmen: How Does the Violence in Song of Songs 5:7 Speak to Australia’s Problem with Violence against Women and vice versa?

Issue: Vol 34 No. 1 (2021) Special Issue on Religion and Violence

Journal: Journal for the Academic Study of Religion

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Buddhist Studies Islamic Studies Biblical Studies

DOI: 10.1558/jasr.20357


In Australia, one woman a week is killed by a current or former partner. But what has this to do with Song of Songs, an expedition through love and the bodies making it? The Song has become an idealised representation of mutually respectful lovers, but there is violence in the text. Building on my previous research into Song of Songs 1:1-6 and intimate partner violence, and using the same interdisciplinary approach combining feminist biblical interpretation and Australian social research, this article recognises the violence against the woman of the Song by the city’s night watchmen at 5:7, and dialogically explores both its significance for an Australian context rife with violence against women, and what light our Australian context sheds on the Song. The Song of Songs is difficult poetry which requires careful consideration, but there is much we can learn from this bi-directional questioning of the text.

Author: Erin Martine Sessions

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