literary unity which the book contains (e.g. Driver, loc. cit.). These are (1) general similarity of treatment, seen in the use of imagery (the bride as a garden, iv. 12; vi. 2, 3), the frequent references to nature and to particular places, and the recurrence of descriptions of male and female beauty; (2) references to “Solomon” or “the king,” to “the Shulamite” and to “the daughters of Jerusalem” (from which, indeed, the dramatic theory has found its chief inspiration); (3) indications that the same person is speaking in different places (cf. the two dreams of a woman, and the vineyard references, i. 6; viii. 12); (4) repetitions of words and phrases especially of the refrains, “disturb not love” (ii. 7; iii. 5; viii. 4), and “until the day break” (ii. 17; iv. 6). But of these (1) is no more than should be expected, since the songs all relate to the same subject, and spring from a common world of life and thought of the same group of people; (2) finds at least a partial parallel and explanation in the use of “king” and “queen” noted above; whilst (3) and (4) alone seem to require something more than the work of a mere collector of the songs. It is, of course, true that, in recurrent ceremonies, the same thought inevitably tends to find expression in the same words. But this hardly meets the case of the refrains, whilst the reference to the vineyard at beginning and end does suggest some literary connexion. It is to be noted that the three refrains “disturb not love” severally follow passages relating to the consummation of the sexual relation, whilst the two refrains “until the day break” appear to form an invitation and an answer in the same connexion, whilst the “Omnia vincit Amor” passage in the last chapter forms a natural climax (cf. Haupt’s translation). So far, then, as this somewhat scanty evidence goes, it may point to some one hand which has given its semblance of unity to the book by underlining the joy of consummated love—to which the vineyard and garden figures throughout allude—and by so arranging the collection that the descriptions of this joy find their climax in viii. 6-7.
Whatever conclusion, however, may be reached as to the present arrangement of Canticles, the recognition of wedding-songs as forming its nucleus marks an important stage in the interpretation of the book; even Rothstein (1902), whilst attempting to resuscitate a dramatic theory, “recognizes... the possibility that older wedding-songs (as, for instance, the wasfs) are worked up in the Song of Songs” (Hastings’ D.B. p. 594b). The drama he endeavours to construct might, indeed, be called “The Tokens of Virginity,” since he makes it culminate in the procedure of Deut. xxii. 13 f., which still forms part of the Syrian ceremonies. But his reconstruction is open to the same objection as all similar attempts, in that the vital moments of the dramatic action have to be supplied from without. Thus between v. 1 and v. 2, the baffled king is supposed to have disappeared, and to have been replaced by the happy lover; between viii. 7 and viii. 8, we are required to imagine “the bridal night and its mysteries”; whilst between viii. 9 and viii. 10, we must suppose the evidence that the bride has been found a virgin is exhibited. He also attempts, with considerable ingenuity, to trace the legend involved in the supposed drama to the fact that Abishag remained a virgin in regard to David (I Kings i. 4) whilst nothing is said of her marriage to Solomon.
On the view accepted above, Canticles describes in a number of separate poems the central passion of human life, and is wholly without didactic tendencies. Of its earliest history as a book we have no information. It is already included in the Hebrew canon (though its right to be there is disputed) when the first explicit mention of the book occurs. We have no evidence, therefore, of the theory of interpretation prevalent at the time of its incorporation with the other books of the canon. It seems, however, fair to infer that it would hardly have found acceptance but for a Solomonic theory of authorship and a “religious” theory of meaning. The problem raised by its present place in the canon occurs in relation to mistaken Jewish theories about other books also; it suggests, at least, that divine inspiration may belong to the life of a people rather than to the letter of their literature. Of that life Canticles portrays a central element—the passion of love—in striking imagery and graceful language, however far its oriental standard of taste differs from that of the modern West.
From the nature of the book, it is impossible to assign a precise date for its origin; the wedding-songs of which it chiefly consists must belong to the folklore of more than one century. The only evidence we possess as to date is drawn from the character of the Hebrew in which the book is written, which shows frequent points of contact with new Hebrew. On this ground, we may suppose the present form of the work to date from the Greek period, i.e. after 332 B.C. This is the date accepted by most recent writers, e.g. Kautzsch, Cheyne, Budde, Rothstein, Jacob, Haupt. This late date finds some confirmation in the fact that Canticles belongs to the third and latest part of the Old Testament canon, and that its canonicity was still in dispute at the end of the 1st century A.D. The evidence offered for a north Israelite origin, on the ground of linguistic parallels and topographical familiarity (Driver, loc. cit.), does not seem very convincing; Haupt, however, places the compilation of the book in the neighbourhood of Damascus.
Literature.—Most of the older books of importance are named above; Ginsburg, The Song of Songs (1857), gives much information as to the history of the exegesis of Canticles; Diestel’s article, “Hohes Lied,” in Schenkel’s Bibel Lexikon (1871), reviews well the history of interpretation prior to Wetstein; cf. also Riedel, Die Auslegung des Hohenliedes in der jüdischen Gemeinde und der griechischen Kirche (1898). The most important commentary is that by Budde, in Marti’s Kurzer Hand-Commentar (Die fünf Megilloth) (1898), where references to the literature of the 19th century are given. To his list add Siegfried, “Prediger und Hoheslied,” in Nowack’s Handkommentar (1898); Cheyne’s article “Canticles,” in the Encyclopaedia Biblica (1899); Dalman, Palästinischer Diwan (1901), parallels to the songs; Rothstein’s article, “Song of Songs,” in Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible (1902); G. Jacob, Das Hohelied auf Grund arabischer und anderer Parallelen von neuem Untersucht (1902); A. Harper, The Song of Songs (1902); Haupt, “The Book of Canticles,” in The American Journal of Semitic Languages (July 1902); Scholz, Kommentar über das Hohelied und Psalm 45 (1904) (written from the Roman Catholic dogmatic standpoint of allegorical interpretation, with a vigorous criticism of other positions). No commentator in English, except Haupt, in the article named above, has yet worked on the lines of the above anthology theory. Haupt gives valuable notes, with a translation and rearrangement of the separate songs.
CANTILEVER (a word of doubtful origin, probably derived from “lever,” in its ordinary meaning, and “cant,” an angle or edge, or else from modern Lat. quanta libra, of what weight), a building term for a stone, iron or wooden bracket, considerably greater in length than depth, used to support a gallery, &c.; and for a system of bridge-building (see Bridges).
CANTILUPE, THOMAS DE (c. 1218–1282), English saint and prelate, was a son of William de Cantilupe, the 2nd baron (d. 1251), one of King John’s ministers, and a nephew of Walter de Cantilupe, bishop of Worcester. He was educated at Paris and Orleans, afterwards becoming a teacher of canon law at Oxford and chancellor of the university in 1262. During the Barons’ War Thomas favoured Simon de Montfort and the baronial party. He represented the barons before St Louis of France
- On the erotic meaning of many of the figures employed see the notes of Haupt in The American Journal of Semitic Languages (July 1902); also G. Jacob, Das Hohelied (1902), who rightly protests against the limitation in the Comm. of Budde and Siegfried (p. 10) of all the songs to the marriage relation. Haupt thinks that the songs were not originally composed for weddings, though used there (p. 207, op. cit.). Diestel had pointed out, in another connexion (B.L. 125), that nothing is said in the book of the blessing of children, the chief end of marriage from a Hebrew standpoint.
- Rothstein’s criticism of Budde turns chiefly on the latter’s admission of redactional elements, introducing “movement and action,” and may be summed up in the statement that “Budde himself by the characteristics he assigns to the redactor points the way again past his own hypothesis to the dramatical view of the Song” (loc cit. 594b). A. Harper, “The Song of Songs” (Cambridge Bible) also criticizes Budde at length in favour of the conventional dramatical theory (Appendix).
- E.g. the late form of the relative pronoun used throughout except in title; foreign words, Persian and Greek; Aramaic words and usages (details in the Comm. or in E.B. 693).