A woman is being beaten and maybe she likes it? Approaching Song of Songs 5:2-7

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Book Chapter

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Kelso, J. (2012). A woman is being beaten and maybe she likes it? Approaching Song of Songs 5:2-7. In R. Boer, M. Carden & J. Kelso (Eds.), The one who reads may run: Essays in Honour of Edgar W. Conrad (pp. 160- 175). New York, USA: T&T Clark International.

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2012 HERDC submission. FoR code: 220306: 220401

© Copyright Roland Boer, Michael Carden and Julie Kelso, 2012





In the Song of Songs, the beating of the woman by the watchmen in 5:7 is generally understood to be either part of a dream or waking fantasy by the woman. Briefly, having risen to open the door to her beloved, she is stunned to find that he has left. She goes out searching for him, but the watchmen instead find, beat, bruise and strip her (Song 5:2-7). This is a problematic moment in the text, especially for those who wish the Song to be understood as an egalitarian model of love between the sexes. However, according to Virginia Burrus and Stephen Moore's (2003) recent work on the Song, developed especially in light of Roland Boer's own pornographic x-egesis, the "beating" scene might just subvert the oppressive reduction of woman to passive sexual partner, even victim, expressing instead woman's desire for masochistic enjoyment.

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