For the first five years of my faith journey I could not read the Song of Solomon without lusting. It was during a reading for a bible survey course that I had an encounter with this book. And it really was that strong. I remember where I was, the time of night, the weather outside, and where I was sitting. As I read the forbidden book - Song of Solomon - I was enveloped in the love of Christ. There, siting in the presence of the almighty, came to me these words “sex too, is beautiful.” It was a revelation of the Spirit. I had been reading my Bible for five years every day (or very close daily). Our third century brother whose name is synonymous with 'Great Theologian' promoted singleness for reason of holiness. Some have speculated that his bad view of body/sex is related to personal issues for him that went beyond the all the Platonic/Greek thinking that ran through his veins. But I think there could be more. Why didn't his reading of the Old Testament correct his less than good view of body and sex. He is quoted as once saying “If Abraham could have had children with out having sex, he would have.”
Without the body view of the First Testament, it is not all that hard to read into Second Testament a negative view of the body, not to mention a wholly carnal view of sex. It has been true for centuries.
But what of Song of Solomon? “Her left breast is the Old Testament. Her right breast is the New Testament. Jesus the lover rests his head between the Testaments.” This is said to be the real meaning of the Solomon. I am not making this up. This example of allegorical interpretation has spanned centuries. Does this come form a view of the Old Testament being less our guide now that we have the New Testament? Now that we have the Spirit we can really live holier and above bodily passions? Just asking questions here. Still thinking out loud. Getting back to our Jewish roots, the Song of Songs (original title of Song of Solomon) was for those married and older to read/listen to. One famous Rabbi* of the first century said that of all the books of scripture the Songs of Songs is “the holy of holies.” Sex – holy? Sacred? Altogether beautiful and holy. See part III.
* Rabbi Akiba (50- 135 C.E.)