Song of Solomon, Song of Songs, or Canticles, book of the Bible, 22d in the order of the Authorized Version. Although traditionally ascribed to King Solomon, many scholars date it as late as the 3d cent. B.C. It is in form a collection of love poems. Its preservation in the Jewish and Christian canon is due not to its universally admitted poetic beauty, but to the acceptance of it as an allegory or parable of God's love for Israel, or for the church, or for the soul that loves Him. Famous among such interpretations are St. Bernard of Clairvaux's 86 sermons on the book (tr. 1895) and St. Francis de Sales's explanation (tr. 1908).
See studies by G. T. Dickinson (1971) and C. Suares (1972).