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The Song of Songs:
A New Translation, Introduction and Commentary

In collaboration with Ariel Bloch.

New York: Random House, 1995;
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
New York: Modern Library Classic Paperback, 2006

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listen Chana Bloch reading from The Song of Songs

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of The Song of Songs

The Song of Songs

Now he has brought me to the house of wine,
and his flag over me is love.

Let me lie among vine blossoms,
in a bed of apricots!
I am in the fever of love.

His left hand beneath my head,
his right arm
holding me close.

Daughters of Jerusalem, swear to me
by the gazelles, by the deer in the field,
that you will never awaken love
until it is ripe. (2:4-7)


Awake, north wind; O south wind, come,
breathe upon my garden,
let its spices stream out.
Let my lover come into his garden
and taste its delicious fruit.

I have come into my garden,
my sister, my bride,
I have gathered my myrrh and my spices,
I have eaten from the honeycomb,
I have drunk the milk and the wine.

Feast, friends, and drink
till you are drunk with love! (4:16-5:1)

"Chana and Ariel Bloch's new translation of the Song of Songs is quite simply the best version in the English language. Its poetic voice, intimate, dignified, and informed by meticulous scholarship, carries us into the Eden of the original Hebrew text: a world in which the sexual awakening of two unmarried lovers is celebrated with a sensuality and a richness of music that are thrilling beyond words." -- Stephen Mitchell

"Chana and Ariel Bloch's translation, a rare conjunction of refined poetic resourcefulness and philological precision, brings us closer to the magical freshness of this ancient Hebrew love poetry than has any other English version." -- Robert Alter (from the Afterword)

"[Chana and Ariel Bloch's] translation of The Song of Songs is lucid and direct, and has a lyrical purity that is delightful. It seems to me a model of how such work may be done." -- W. S. Merwin

"[This translation] has a crisp energy that mirrors the poem's springtime mood, and a phrasing that captures the impulsiveness and the delight of the lovers in each other and in their mutual imaginative play. . . . Next to Genesis, no book in the Hebrew Bible has had a stronger influence on Western literature than the Song of Songs. This attractive and exuberant edition helps to explain much of its power, while leaving its mystery intact. " -- Alicia Ostriker, The New York Review of Books

"[A] masterpiece has just appeared in America. . . . This is Chana and Ariel Bloch's beautiful translation of the Song of Songs, with the English and the Hebrew on facing pages, an informative introduction, wonderfully interesting notes, and a thought-provoking afterword by Robert Alter." -- Gabriel Josipovici, The Times Literary Supplement (London), International Books of the Year Selection, 1995

"Ariel and Chana Bloch have succeeded in an extraordinarily difficult task. This is the best and most enjoyable translation of the Song of Songs that I know. Their notes, too, offer excellent insights to readers who know Hebrew and, for that matter, to those who do not." -- Elaine Pagels

"Chana and Ariel Bloch's new translation of The Song of Songs is stunning in its seductive simplicity, its exuberance, accuracy, and poignancy. Equally lyrical and impressively learned, their commentaries on the text offer just the illumination this astonishing poem-sequence deserves." -- Sandra M. Gilbert