Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mary in the Canticles of Solomon (Songs of Songs)

A Protestants questioned when did Catholics start saying Mary was the woman in the Songs of Solomon, specifically chapter 6.  Though, I have no idea about chapter 6, what I can say is that around 446 Songs 2:2 was applied to Mary.

"A virgin, innocent, spotless, free of all defect, untouched, unsullied, holy in soul and body, like a lily sprouting among thorns. [Songs of Songs 2:2]"—Theodotus of Ancrya,Homily VI:11(ante A.D. 446),in THEO,339
 This is taken from
Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women.--Song of Songs 2:2 (aka Songs of Solomon aka Canticles)
 Another reference is by St John Damascene (generally considered the "last" early Church Father):
"Then, having spoken these words, she would have raised her hands, I imagine, and would have blessed those there; and she would have heard, "Come, my blessed Mother, 'into the place of my rest' [Ps 132:8 (LXX); cf Ps 95:11 [LXX]]. 'Arise, come, my dear one; beautiful among all women; 'for behold, winter has passed, and the time of pruning has come' [Songs of Songs 2:10-12]. 'My dear one is beautiful, and there is no blemish in you' [Songs of Songs 4:7]. 'The odor of your ointments surpasses all fragrance' [Songs of Songs 1:3 cf. 4:10]. And having heard these words, the holy woman would have committed her soul to the hands of her Son."--St John of Damascus, Homily II on the Dorimition, paragraph 9 (pg 290)
He is quoting:

My beloved spoke, and said unto me: 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.  For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone--Song of Songs 2:10-11
Thou art all fair, my love; and there is no spot in thee.--Song of Songs 4:7
How fair is thy love, my sister, my bride! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all manner of spices!--Song of Songs 4:10
 The 7th Century Patriarch of Jerusalem Modestus of Jerusalem applied Songs to Mary too:
"She who remained a Virgin, the "sealed fountain" [Songs of Songs 4:12] of divine gifts, has been led out to meet him through her, the garden of the orthodox Church is watered, and is tended by the second Adam, born of her, who drank from the virginal fountain of her breasts as from a flowing spring, and who gave life to Adam, God's first creation, as he lay in death."--Modestus of Jerusalem, Patriarch of Jerusalem (c. 630-634), "An Encomium on the Dormition of Out Most Holy Lady, Mary, Mother of God and Ever-Virgin" paragraph 6

 Another reference is Songs of Songs 4:12
A garden shut up is my sister, my bride; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.

I have also read that St Ephraim the Syrian refers to her as such in his Carmina Nisibena.

Another point that should be mentioned is that the idea that they mocked the idea Songs could be about Mary, since one of the insist it was about Solomon's wife.  Well whether it was about Solomon's wife is irrelevant, since it perhaps was originally. Though it should be mentioned Solomon did not have a wife, but rather countless wives. The idea that its just about Solomon and his wife is absurd, what benefit is it really to anyone if its just chapter of Solomon and his wife? The most common interpretation among the Fathers was that it was about Jesus and the Church, the other interpretations were the Holy Spirit and Mary. The Rabbis interpreted it as Israel and God.

To be continued

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