addcalendar Download Event
Buy Tickets/RSVP

Date & Time

Tuesday, May 11, 2021
12:00 PM






Seminary Co-op Bookstore
(773) 752-4381


Elaine T. James will discuss "Landscapes of the Song of Songs: Poetry and Place" with Aslan Cohen Mizrahi and Alexis Wolf, moderated by Simeon Chavel.

Presented in partnership with The Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies

Virtual event

About the book: In this masterful new study of the ancient poetry of the Song of Songs, Elaine T. James explores the Song's underlying interest in the natural world. Engaging with the fields of geography, landscape architecture, and literature, James critiques the tendency of scholars to reify a perceived dichotomy between "nature" and "culture" and instead argues that the poetic attention to landscape indicates an awareness of a viewer. Nature is here a poetic device that informs James's close-readings of agrarianism, gardens, cities, social control, and feminism and the gaze in the Song. With this two-fold emphasis on landscape and lyric," Landscape of the Song of Songs" shows how the Song persistently envisions a world in which human lovers are embedded in the natural world, complexly enfolded in relationships of fragility and care.

About Elaine T. James: Elaine James, MDiv '07, ThM '08, PhD '13, is associate professor of Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her work focuses on the literature of the Hebrew Bible, especially its poetry, examining its significance in its ancient context and its legacy for the contemporary world. Guiding her research are questions about how artistic literary practices shape ethical and theological thought, especially around issues of land, ecology, gender, and sexuality. Her first book, "Landscapes of the Song of Songs" (Oxford University Press, 2017) is an exploration of how the Song of Songs conceptualizes the natural world. She is currently completing a handbook of biblical poetry.

About Aslan Cohen Mizrahi: Aslan Cohen Mizrahi is a PhD student at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

About Alexis Wolf: Alexis Wolf is an MA student at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

About Simeon Chavel: Simeon Chavel is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He studies the genres, techniques, ideas, and history of the Hebrew Bible; the society, religion and history of ancient Israel and Judea; and their dynamic interrelationship. His approach draws on the ancient Near Eastern context, early Jewish interpretation, and modern theory. His book "Oracular Law and Priestly Historiography in the Torah" (Mohr Siebeck, 2014) analyzes the combination of law and narrative in "The Priestly History" (a Pentateuchal source) through a distinct set of four “oracular novellas.” A book nearing completion, "God in the Eyes of Israel: A History of the Religious Imagination in Ancient Israel & Judea," traces ancient interest in text as an agent of religious experience that reconfigures the lived spheres of family, region, royalty, and nationhood, from the Neo-Assyrian period through the Hellenistic.