Monday, September 11, 2017

Thoughts on translation, Part 9.7: Title search

The Song of Songs, Which is Solomon's: timeless love poetry in contemporary calligraphy. 

Topic seven: In keeping with its difficulty for translators, even the title of this book is equivocal.  Most scholars agree that the formal title Song of Songs is like "king of kings"--the best in a category. So I emphasized "of" as a crucial word by writing its main stroke in an eye-catching decorative dashed line. Throughout the series, I have italicized "of" when I cite chapter and verse: SONG of SONGS.  It just feels, sounds, and looks right to me. 
The subtitle, Which is Solomon’s, can be translated as: 
  • by Solomon, 
  • about Solomon,
  • in the style of Solomon, or
  • in honor of Solomon. 
Curiously, Solomon’s name itself occurs only 3 times, and in just one chapter; many scholars now think that the other poems may have no connection to him at all and are just collected under his name.  It is very likely that the “king” alluded to in the other poems is not Solomon himself, but just an extravagant way for the young woman to praise the young man she loves.  

Most lay people, of course, refer to it at Song of Solomon, without worrying about the details.    

No comments:

Post a Comment