Presentation on theme: "Oseh Shalom (Job 25:2b) O-SEH SHALOMBIMROMAV The One Who Makespeacein His heights HUYA’ASEHSHALOMALENU Hewill makepeacefor us VE’ALKOLISRAEL And for allIsrael."— Presentation transcript:
Oseh Shalom (Job 25:2b) O-SEH SHALOMBIMROMAV The One Who Makespeacein His heights HUYA’ASEHSHALOMALENU Hewill makepeacefor us VE’ALKOLISRAEL And for allIsrael VE’IMRUIMRUAMEN And saysayAmen! YA’ASEHSHALOM, YA’ASEH SHALOM SHALOMALENU VE’AL KOL ISRAEL (4 times)
Review and Preview Questions Review: How should we define biblical wisdom? Principles for interpreting speculative wisdom Read wisdom texts in their wider contexts Follow the development of the entire argument Questions Why is Ecclesiastes in the Bible? How should we interpret the book? Ecclesiastes 12:12b
The Key Phrase Means… Futility, Transience, Or…? lbh – hevel – usually translated “meaningless” or “vanity” but literally means “breath” or “vapor” “something transient and elusive”
Importance of hevel Used more than 30 times in Ecclesiastes The superlative (havel havalim) frames the book (1:2 and 12:8) – usually translated “utterly meaningless” or “vanity of vanities” What images might be associated with the figures of “vapor” and “breath”? Breath that we inhale and exhale Brief and fleeting and yet that which sustains life (the opposite of death which is a fundamental focus of Ecclesiastes) How does “transient” or “elusive” differ in implication from “empty” or “meaningless”?
Additional key phrases “I saw” “under the sun” or “under heaven” “chasing after the wind” or “striving after the wind” Both sun and wind are noted in Ecclesiastes 1 which sets the stage for these expressions “what profit…?” or “what good…?” and particularly “ultimate advantage” “nothing better than to eat, drink, and be satisfied”
Structural Features of the Book Framework Prologue and epilogue Havel havelim Two poems (1:2-11 and 12:1-7) – reflecting Genesis 3 Conceptual parallelism – constant counterpoint between life “under the sun” and recognition of God’s gifts and presence Repetitions – like breath; continuity and unity of experience Slow evolution of thought Being in the Presence of God increased perception of evil
Who Wrote Ecclesiastes? Qohelet – Preacher or Teacher (qahal means “congregation”) Son of David, King of Jerusalem (1:1) Ruling “over Israel” (1:12) implies united monarchy Great wisdom (1:16) and wealth (2:7,9) Building projects and lifestyle (2:4-9) “Set in order many proverbs” (12:9) If this is Solomon, why would he call himself Qohelet?
The “human crisis” Grief, frustration, and vexation come with knowledge (1:13,18) That which is deemed substantial is but breath – in each case, death ends it [repeated themes] Emptiness of things after we work hard for them (2:18-23) Failure of pleasure (2:1-3) Bitterness in relationships (7:26-28) Lack of personal importance; mortality (death is inevitable and the issue of uncertainty is a pressing one) (9:3-6) Apparent injustice (4:1-3)
What God has Given Perception of continuity, stability, and “eternity in the heart of humankind” (1:1-7; 3:1-14) Enjoyment and challenge of knowing Work and pleasure (2:24-25) Relationships (4:9-12) Hope is found in judgment (12:13-14)
Song of Songs Title “the best song” The problem of interpretation Allegory Ritual drama Love poems expressing the height of sexual enjoyment – with symbolic overtones The garden imagery is central (Cf. Genesis 2) – hidden, protected, intimate, sensuous What is not in the Song
How is love described in the poems? Rhapsodic descriptions of the lover and the beloved Naked physical attractiveness posed with elaborate bird and animal imagery, floral patterns, jewelry, spices, and choice foods (honey, wine, milk), heavenly bodies (sun, moon, and stars) and even geographical references! Emphasis on the fruitfulness of nature. Outdoor imagery Security symbolized by structural allusions Walls Cleft in the rock Tower
What Are the Purposes of the Book? Demonstrate that sexuality is a gift to be cherished in intimacy Perhaps a polemic against the wider culture’s use and abuse of sexuality in the context of ritual prostitution. Celebrate the beauty of physical attraction Recognize that love is threatened by both distance and other people
The Power of Love (8:6-7) Perception of beauty and figurative ways of expressing the inexpressible Overwhelming attraction Accompanying (potentially destructive) emotions of jealousy and fear