Original Research

Can the Song of Songs be described (also) as a form of dark green religion?

Hendrik Viviers
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 37, No 1 | a1581 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v37i1.1581 | © 2016 Hendrik Viviers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 February 2016 | Published: 15 July 2016

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Hendrik Viviers, Department of Religion Studies, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Bron Taylor defines dark green religion as: ‘… a deep sense of belonging to and connectedness in nature, whilst perceiving the earth and its living systems to be sacred and interconnected’. It not only emphasises a felt kinship with the rest of life but also evokes awe, wonderment and humility towards nature that binds to something ‘greater than oneself’. Do the intimate ‘oneness’ and living in the moment of the two young lovers in the Song also extend to a diminishing of the self and an experience of oneness with a greater, timeless, mysterious reality? In order to determine whether the Song of Songs complies with a form of nature spirituality, the notions of belonging, interconnectedness and sacredness were investigated as they appear in this ancient book of love. It was found that the Song is representative of a form of dark green religion of a non-doctrinaire, immanent kind. It exhibits ubiquitously the notions of belonging and connection (kinship with nature, an interconnectedness and interdependency of the web of life) and the sacredness of the earth and its inhabitants (their intrinsic worth that evokes awe, wonderment and humility). The experience of sensuality, living mindfully in the moment, transforms into a timeless spirituality of connection to ‘another, mysterious world’.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The relevance of reader-oriented appreciations of biblical texts, notably ecological hermeneutics, is demonstrated; this approach can also be extended to other sacred texts apart from the Bible; furthermore, it points to the need for the ongoing dialogue with the natural sciences.

Keywords: dark green religion; nature spirituality; belonging;interconnectedness; sacredness; Song of Songs


Keywords

dark green religion; nature spirituality; belonging; interconnectedness; sacredness; Song of Songs

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