Author and artist Debra Band has applied her calligraphic and writing talent to create a personal interpretation of the Song of Songs, the most sensual book of the Bible. The Honeybee in the Garden is a visual delight from beginning to end, containing 65 original illuminations and papercut reproductions. The sources of the accompanying text include Band’s own interpretations, the original Bible text, the Jewish Publication Society translation and new translations by scholar David Band.
The introduction is a comprehensive orientation to the literary and religious history and the Jewish iconography of the Song of Songs. Band believes that the poems should be read at two levels simultaneously: one oriented to the physical world and the other to the spiritual. The author/artist explains that the passion inherent in the literal words actually enhances the religious feeling evoked by the symbolic understanding. The foreword by Jewish Theological Seminary scholar Raymond P. Scheindlin praises Debra Band’s contemporary interpretation by comparing it with older ones, offering readers an explanation of the new rendering.