The Vocabulary of Desire: The Song of Songs in the Early Synagogue

Laura S. Lieber

The title “Vocabulary of Desire” implies that payyetanim (liturgical poets) used the available words of the biblical Song of Songs as lexemes to construct richly woven, liturgical poetry. In post-biblical interpretation the Song of Songs expressed God’s love for Israel and Israel’s love for God, and it provided ancient Jewish exegetes with a powerful vocabulary. The resulting piyyutim (liturgical poems) are examined in this book, which contains two parts. The two parts are successfully integrated and explain certain concepts concerning the structure and the religious messages of the piyyut and the culture that produced it.