‘A series of love songs’: Franciscan theology professor speaks on Song of Songs in preparation for Easter

Photo by Melissa Longua
Photo by Melissa Longua

Staff Writer

“Song of Songs is the holy of holy,” said John Bergsma, theology professor at Franciscan University. “It’s some of the best stuff in the Bible.”

Bergsma gave a talk in the Gentile Gallery titled “The Bridegroom: Jesus, Holy Week, and the Song of Songs” at an event hosted by Warriors of the Word woman’s household on Tuesday.

Bergsma spent the majority of his talk familiarizing the audience with the Song of Songs and concluding it by comparing it to the gospel of John.

The Song of Songs is a “series of love songs” broken up into seven parts leading up to a wedding, he said. The author is unknown and it is believed to have been written around 900 B.C.

“The book consists mostly in dreams of the bride’s upcoming union,” said Bergsma. “The wedding never takes place, so it ends on a note of longing.”

According to Bergsma, Song of Songs is parallel to Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene following the Resurrection in John 20:1, 11-18. The woman in Song of Songs searched for the groom at night, spoke to a watchman to see if he had seen him and held her groom once he was found.

Likewise, he said, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb “while it was still dark,” questioned a gardener once she started looking for him and hugged Jesus once she saw him.

Bergsma received his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame. He has been teaching theology at Franciscan since 2004, and he specializes in the Old Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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