Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Canticles, literally short portions of Scripture or of theological compositions sung in the church. But the name is generally applied to what is called in the English Church "The Song of Solomon," and in the Roman Church the "Song of Songs." Critics have held many and widely differing views of it, some thinking it an allegorical setting forth of the mystic union of Christ and His Church - a view favoured by the compilers of the Authorised Version of the Scriptures - others taking it as describing Christ's dealings with the individual soul, and others again considering it to be neither more nor less than a drama of earthly love. Among the Jews its mystic interpretation is that it sets forth God's dealings with His chosen people. It appears that the Jewish doctors declared it canonical about 90 A.D., but it was not looked on before the Christian era as allegorically expressing Jehovah's relation to His people. The later modern criticism, which is rationalistic in tone, looks on it as either a complete love poem or as a collection of many fragments. Some of the rather warm images and descriptions in the poem are, on this theory, songs of the harem intended to enthral the imagination of the heroine. It remains to be pointed out that the authorised translation is said to contain some inaccuracies caused by the desire of the translators to make the poem harmonise with their foregone conclusions as to its nature.