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Approaching the Unapproachable Text: Apocalypticism in Daniel and Intimacy in the Song of Songs

A one-day seminar sponsored by the Princeton Monthly Conversations series

January 30, 2012
8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
School of Christian Vocation and Mission
Princeton Theological Seminary

Share Join us for an engaging look at two controversial but theologically rich texts from the Old Testament. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of their meaning and discuss insights that can be applied in preaching, teaching, and daily life.

Seminar Leader

Jin Hee Han is Professor of Biblical Studies at New York Theological Seminary where he teaches Old Testament and Biblical Hebrew, directs the Online Program, and runs the Doctor of Ministry in Bible Engagement in partnership with American Bible Society. He also teaches Biblical Hebrew at General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church. He earned his M.Div. and Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary. An ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA), he participated in the development of DISCIPLE, the widely used Bible study program produced by the United Methodist Publishing House and has led numerous Bible conferences for church leaders. His main research interests are performance criticism and reception history of the Bible. Widely published, he is the author of Daniel’s Spiel and Six Minor Prophets Through the Centuries (with Richard Coggins).


Monday, January 30, 2012

8:30-9:00 a.m. Registration followed by Introduction
9:00-10:00 a.m. Session 1: What Makes These Books Special
10:00-10:50 a.m. Session 2: God Made Manifest in the Others
10:50-11:00 a.m. Coffee Break
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Session 3: Luminance of Figurative Speeches
12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30-2:30 p.m. Session 4: Words that Make It Real (Also Broadcast Online)

Course Description

“All Scriptures are holy, but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies.” Rabbi Akiba’s dictum heightens our interest in the great love poem of the Bible. Readers of the Song have heeded the call to draw near the text, which unveils poetic depictions of human experience that inspires yearning in everybody’s heart. Before the revelation of that which captivates God and consumes humans alike, listeners of the Song are glad to be permitted to be fortunate guests invited to congratulate the couple in love.

The book of Daniel, though coming from a distant time and social context, also strikes a chord in every human being. The book points to the hope that the whole world can dream of together. For the moment, the faithful may go through temporal challenges in the face of erratic regimes that dispense favor or terror at their whim, but the final triumph of God, as the apocalyptist lays out, will inaugurate the eternal reign of peace over the universe.

Stoking the passions of love and hope, these two books share a common modus operandi. They tell tales that ordinary language cannot convey. Their creative discourses are animated by the sense of the absolute necessity of bringing forth a language unheard of—to speak of love and longing. In this seminar, we will join these two biblical writers in search of Elysium. In the Song, delight is communicated mostly through the voice of a woman unhindered by social conventions that enforce feminine silence. The emotionally charged language of the Song may also explain why the book was so alarmingly popular that ancient rabbis had to warn that those who trill the verses of it in the banquet house would lose their place in the kingdom of God. In the Book of Daniel, the biblical storyteller is lost in wonder, struck by a hope that can be embraced despite all presently available evidence. We, too, shall listen for the joy and hope nestled in the beautiful words of these two biblical books, which resonate with the heart of every human being who yearns to love and be loved, to lead and be led, to lift and be lifted up—to share the bliss that God offers in the ancient words.


Registration for this event is $50, including lunch.

Princeton Seminary is committed to providing an easy registration experience. To this extent, while in the process of upgrading the registration software, please use this fillable form. At the bottom of the form, please be sure to indicate your program’s name. Your completed form may be:

  • + returned via postal mail,
  • + submitted via fascimile (to 609-497-0709),
  • + e-mailed as an attachment to [email protected], or
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All registrations will be processed on January 2, 2012, so it is possible to faithfully register for 2012 programs with 2011 funds.

Please read the Registration and Cancellation Policy before registering.

Contact Info

Additional questions may be asked by telephone at 609.497.7990 or by e-mail at [email protected].