Author(s)Judy E. Lam
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AbstractResearch on the use of the Song of Songs in spiritual direction is rare; yet, the Song of Songs (or Canticle of Canticles) is a highly conducive case as it provides <em>in nuce</em> the poetics, lyrics, erotics, and aesthetics of human <em>and</em> divine love which is found nowhere else in Scripture. This article draws on these unique features, integrates the biblical and the experiential, and offers a poetics-praxis paradigm for use in contemporary spiritual praxis. With the poem’s metaphorical <em>vineyard</em> (a figurative term for the beloved <em>herself</em>) serving as hermeneutical key, the beloved’s experience of love is interpreted through a multifaceted reading that is intrinsic to the poem, namely: <em> eros</em> [yearning]; <em>mythos </em> [searching]; <em>mustikos</em> [finding]; and <em>kosmos</em> [birthing]. In following the inner dynamism and dramatic tensions across the eight chapters of the Song, the fourfold reading traces the beloved’s transformation from a neglected vineyard (Can 1:6) to a generative vineyard (Can 8:12). The article concludes that transformation in love is a journey from depletion (the <em>giving away</em> of self) towards deification (the <em>giving of</em> self in love), and suggests <em>tending one’s own vineyard </em>as a living testament to divine love and a living sacrament in the world.