You are here:


Desire, Agency, and Gender in Ancient Near Eastern Love Poetry

The Song of Songs, a collection of ancient erotic poetry known to the modern reader as a part of the Jewish and Christian Bible, belongs to the ancient Near Eastern tradition of love poetry together with the poems written in Sumerian, Akkadian, and Egyptian. While the Song of Songs has been studied intensively for a long time, other ancient Near Eastern love poetry, especially those written in Akkadian, are seriously understudied. However, love poetry should form an indispensable part of the study of the ancient constructions of gender. My project will analyze critically the structures of desire and agency in the ancient love poems, opening a new window to the gendered language and ideology of love in the patriarchal world of the ancient Near East. It will reveal fractures in the patriarchal gender matrix and demonstrate the interpretive potential of love poetry for both religious and political life. It will show that love relationship is not all about mutual emotions but emerges from a multifaceted network of gender, desire, and agency, within which it is upheld, lived, and interpreted.


Fellows involved in this project


Share this project:

Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].