Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Committee Member(s)

Sam Shonkoff


Song of Songs, Reception history, Kabbalah, Isaac ibn Sahula, Zohar


Isaac ibn Sahula was a marginal figure in the Castile community of medieval Spanish kabbalists, which included those mystics who would come to compose the groundbreaking book of Zohar toward the end of the thirteenth century. While Ibn Sahula is best known for his anthology of animal fables, this essay casts his more obscure Commentary on the Song of Songs (ca. 1283) as a key document in tracing the genealogy of the Song's interpretation in classical Kabbalah. Through the translation and analysis of two exemplary sections of the Commentary, this essay will discuss its uniquely kabbalistic reading of the Song as a love story between the secrets of Torah and their interpreter and ultimately advance a thesis locating Ibn Sahula's "erotics of reading" in its broader medieval context.

Included in

Religion Commons