Sunday, September 17, 2017

Thoughts on translation, Part 9.13: The back story

Song of Solomon: timeless love poetry in contemporary calligraphy. 

Topic thirteen: Bible verses, especially from the Old Testament, contain many implications we might miss.  For instance, the mandrake of VII: 13 was probably known to contain a mild hallucinogen in its root. For any listener who knows that, it creates a powerful metaphor for the delirium of infatuation itself.  

In VI: 8. (at left)  Mt Amana, Mt Shenir, Mt Hermon: the specific mountain peaks in Israel where the poet describes his beloved living with leopards and panthers, were familiar names to the original listeners.  (Some of these also appear in American place names, testimony to the religious background of many early settlers.) 

In I: 14, "My beloved is unto me as a cluster of henna in the vineyards of Engedi.”  En-Gedi today, near Masada, is still a flowering green garden in a dry land; last year it was one of the most popular destinations in the country. Every Israeli can visualize it.       

Indirectly, I have tried to hint at this extra dimension in my calligraphic design wherever possible.  Moral: if you don't recognize a word in scripture, looking it up will add to your enjoyment.  

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