Cover image for I, You, and the Word “God”: Finding Meaning in the Song of Songs By Sarah Zhang

I, You, and the Word “God”

Finding Meaning in the Song of Songs

Sarah Zhang

BUY

I, You, and the Word “God”

Finding Meaning in the Song of Songs

Sarah Zhang

I, You, and the Word “God” introduces the approach of lyrical ethics, inspired by Emmanuel Levinas’s ethical-phenomenological philosophy. Through the optics of lyrical ethics, the reader discovers how the ancient erotic poems of the Song of Songs bear ethical and theological significance for contemporary readers. Levinas’s intertwined concepts—oneself qua sensibility, otherness perceived through responsibility, and transcendence embodied in one’s love for the other—reveal themselves as lyrical colors woven into the fabric of Song 4:1–7, 5:2–8, and 8:6.

 

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  • Table of Contents
I, You, and the Word “God” introduces the approach of lyrical ethics, inspired by Emmanuel Levinas’s ethical-phenomenological philosophy. Through the optics of lyrical ethics, the reader discovers how the ancient erotic poems of the Song of Songs bear ethical and theological significance for contemporary readers. Levinas’s intertwined concepts—oneself qua sensibility, otherness perceived through responsibility, and transcendence embodied in one’s love for the other—reveal themselves as lyrical colors woven into the fabric of Song 4:1–7, 5:2–8, and 8:6.

More importantly, Levinas’s understanding that poetic language breaks the tautology of logocentric discourse and gestures to the outside of consciousness provides the theoretical ground for the listener to solicit meaningfulness from the Song. Through this lyrical reading of the selected poetic units, the book demonstrates that the traditional interpretive methods of representative description, narrative paraphrase, and thematic distillation fail to encounter the otherness of poetry. In contrast, lyrical ethics pays attention to that which transcends consciousness: the awakening of the reader’s subjectivity, the saying underlying the said, the sound of the sense, and the invisibility of the visible. The Song so caressed reveals in human love the purposelessly purposive encounter with God.

Preface and Acknowledgments

Abbreviations

General

Reference Works

Introduction

1. TheorySubjectivity: The Rise of Lyrical Ethics

Levinasian Lyrical Ethics

Levinas and the Writing of Difference

Writing as Encounter

2. Oneself as Awakened Sensibility (Song 4:1–7)A Snapshot of Song 4:1–7

Delight

Touch

Approach

Desire

Ending Invitation

3. Restlessness and Responsibility for the OtherListening beside the Said

De-Coring: Between Intrigue and Interruption

Exposedness beyond Wounding

Patience

In Other Words, or Words of the Other

Appendix

4. "The Human Form Divine"The Trace of God

Detour on Human Finitude

"The Question Mark in This Said"

The Moment the Word "God" Is Heard

So to Speak

Bibliography

Indexes

Index of Authors

Index of Scripture

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