[Buddha-l] Koheleth

JKirkpatrick jkirk at spro.net
Sun Jun 13 18:22:15 MDT 2010

Pretty dang amazing, folks. Who'd thunk it in ye olde Bible?



Gary, I too am amazed the book is canonical. I suppose it's the
last few verses that snuck it in, but they are (at least to my
eyes) transparently the interpolation of another author;

Dan, Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi is onto something with the "Daoist"

comment. I have, open on my desk, a copy of Rami Shapiro's _The
Way of Solomon_ <http://tinyurl.com/268oo3y>, a translation of
and commentary on Koheleth/Ecclesiastes. Shapiro translates its
first two verses this

    Emptiness! Emptiness upon emptiness!
    The world is fleeting of form,
    empty of permanence,
    void of surety,
    without certainty.
    Like a breath breathed once and gone,
    all things rise and fall.
    Understand emptiness, and tranquility replaces anxiety.
    Understand emptiness, and compassion replaces jealousy.
    Understand emptiness, and you will cease to excuse
       suffering and begin to alleviate it.

Schachter-Shalomi, who was one of Shapiro's teachers, may read
the book as Daoist, but in Shapiro's hands it is clearly Buddhish
(sic), as we can read above. In any case, it remains emphatically
Jewish, and, as Dan's etymological gloss showed, that Jewish
insight into hevel is not at all far from the Buddhist insight
into śūnyatā.  
Indeed, Koheleth would tell us the time we waste in
distinguishing them is itself hevel.

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