November 28, 2012

Sex And Metaphorical Language

James F. McGrath wrote an abnormally interesting post in which he asks (and somewhat answers) “Just How Racy is the Song of Songs?” Among other things James is interested in the use of tropes in the context of matters of the heart (so to speak).

The Sumerian poem “My wool being lettuce he will water it” also uses tropes for making it (so to speak). Here’s a sample:

My wool being lettuce he will water it,
it being box(-grown) lettuce he will water it
and touch the dubdub bird in its hole!
. . .

Let him come! Into my wool, it being the most pleasing of lettuces,
I shall with arousing glances induce the brother to enter.
I shall make Shu-Suen – all ready – show himself a lusty man,
Shu-Suen, to whom my [allure] be without end!
[Shu-Suen, whose allure to me] will [never cha]nge!

. . .

You can read the whole thing in Thorkild Jacobsen, The Harps That Once— Sumerian Poetry in Translation (New Haven Yale University Press, 1997), 93.

This isn't the only place in Mesopotamian literature where rather explicit tropes are used for getting it on (so to speak) but it is a suggestive example.

Posted by Duane Smith at November 28, 2012 9:26 PM | Read more on Hebrew Bible |

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