Song of Songs: The Bible's Great Love Poems in Calligraphy (Mount Tabor Books) (Hardcover)
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Song of Songs is a unique book of the Bible that has delighted its readers for centuries, while at the same time challenging artists, theologians, and translators. In this scripture, also known as Song of Solomon, physical love is described with graphic frankness; the woman’s voice speaks more often than the man’s; and the name of God is not mentioned even once. There is no other book of the Bible even remotely like it.
Drawn from a lifetime with calligraphy, Shepherd’s designs re-interpret the meaning of Song of Songs in a new way, using traditional calligraphy in fresh modern layouts. She has woven together a dozen scholarly translations to let this timeless poetry speak in today’s language.
Margaret Shepherd is a well-known calligrapher, teacher, and author of the classic Learn Calligraphy.
“The Song of Songs is a passionate book of ancient poetry that has been loved and preserved by Jews and Christians for millennia. Seen in both religious communities as an expression of God’s love, in a very real sense the Song has been read in Western culture as the quintessential expression of mystical relationship between God and human beings. It has been central in the shaping of the western aesthetic with regard to beauty and love. The appreciation of the beauty, desire for the other, and feelings of loss and longing when love goes unrequited are bound up in the images of this poetry. Margaret Shepherd’s presentation captures this diverse set of emotions. Her rendition brings the art of its poetry into our own day. We can look at the world of love and beauty through her eyes.” —Cameron “Ron” Afzal, Professor of Religion at Sarah Lawrence College
"For Margaret Shepherd, calligraphy is a spiritual practice. Her art allows us to enter the world of young lovers in Hebrew scripture. We walk through grape arbors and navigate walled streets in search of love. We are reminded that our love for one another is sacred in God’s eyes." —Sarah C. Stewart, Minister, First Unitarian Church of Worcester (MA)
"Margaret Shepherd's lovely calligraphy offers an exquisitely imaginative visual commentary on the Song of Songs. The medley of translations are themselves a kind of midrashic explanation and elaboration of the Hebrew poems and an apt companion to her vivid art." —Robert Alter, translator, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary