Universität Erfurt

Raphaela Swadosch: Doktorandin

Universität Erfurt

Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien

Postfach 900 221

99105 Erfurt

Vita

  • since October 2018: PhD Researcher in the International Graduate School "Resonant Self-World Relations in Ancient and Modern Socio-Religious Practices" at the Universities of Erfurt, Germany, and Graz, Austria
  • 2015: M.A. in Theology from the School of Theology Reutlingen, Germany
  • 2004: completion of the Interdisciplinary Peace Studies Training Program "Conflict and Peace" at the Fernuniversität Hagen, Germany
  • 2001: M.A. in Sociology and Politics from Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany; Major: Sociology of Religion

Forschungsprojekt

Das Hohelied als Beitrag zur Radikalisierung der Beziehungsidee – An investigation of the resonance relations of the Song of Songs interpretations (working title)

The Song of Songs is a canonical book in the Old Testament of the Bible. The surprising thing is that it is erotic love poetry not even mentioning God, the history of the Israelites, the covenant, the prophets or any other common topoi of Old Testament writings. Hence the great variety which stems from the Song of Songs’ interpretation.

This variety is due to the fact that the protagonists described in the poem are anonymous. Who they are, where they meet and where they live remains uncertain. All we get are hints, allusions, and an exuberant imagery of flora and fauna, perfumes, herbs, spices, food and drinking, gardens, animals and seasonal landscapes. The dialogue of the protagonists in this setting is filled with love, passion, yearning and metaphorical language. Precisely because of this, exegetes from the 2nd Century CE until today applied different methods of reading to the text in order to grasp its meaning. Thus, they created a rich stock of exegesis. Groups of interpretation are e.g. allegorical, mystical, spiritual, literal, to name but a few.

My thesis thus engages with the self-world-relations deriving from the Song of Songs’ interpretations. The different groups of interpretation represent different self-world-relations which reflect the exegete’s choice of methods in order to deduce the Song’s meaning. This procedure causes different qualities of resonance between text and exegetes which I aim to describe. The parameters to explore the different self-world-relations are deduced from Hartmut Rosa's resonance concept, including crucial elements such as: affection, emotion, self-efficacy, transformation and “Unverfügbarkeit.”

Alongside the research on resonance, I pay special attention to the (de-)construction of gender in the Song of Songs. The Song plays with poetic language that blurs the lines between the gender-stereotypes. Thereby, it also calls into question how the genders are usually depicted in The Old Testament to support patriarchy and the customs of sexual relationships displaying male power over female bodies. In order to understand the gender-relations in the poem one thus has to investigate the patriarchal structures of society in Ancient Israel where the Song was composed, presumably between the 5th and 3rd Century BC.

By combining Feminist Old Testament Studies with the resonance concept, this thesis aims to make a contribution – on an interdisciplinary level – to other degendered interpretations of the Song of Songs. Based on this, I claim that there are resonances deriving from certain methods of interpretation of the poetry that aid the undoing of gender-stereotypes. They undo gender-stereotypes in favor of a reading that helps women and men to relate to each other and the world around them in a libidinously charged way that overcomes the gender-biased dichotomies. These resonances, which derive from certain interpretations, form a self-world relation that helps to radicalize the idea of relationality. In which way they do so will be the result of my research.

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