[Buddha-l] Koheleth

Bob Woolery drbob at comcast.net
Sun Jun 13 23:16:44 MDT 2010

Found it online: from p. 11
If we can imagine Homer 
or Virgil published with the scholia of later com- 
mentators put into the body of the text, or the 
Quatrains of Omar Khayyam with the comments 
and pious reflections of orthodox Mohamme- 
dans added, as though forming part of the 
original, in order to counteract unorthodox senti- 
ments about "wine, woman and song," one will be 
able to form an impression of the text as finally 
fixed and as it now stands in our Bible. At the 
same time, while recognizing what commentators 
in the interests of orthodoxy have made of Kohe- 
leth, we must not fall into the error of charging 
such commentators with any intention to practice 
a wilful deceit. We must always bear in mind that 
every production in an age which had not as yet 
developed the sense of individual authorship was 
subject to constant modification. Such modifica- 
tion was in part an index of the interest that a 
new production had aroused. An ancient book 
never received a final form, so long as its message 
retained its vitality. The modifications which a 
piece of writing underwent might be made by 
those who agreed with it, or by those who were 
not in sympathy with it. The manipulators of 
Koheleth were opposed to its tone and thought, 
but they were not conscious of any wrong in 
furnishing through additions their answers to 
Koheleth's arguments and conclusions.

Bob Woolery, DC
326 deAnza dr
Vallejo, CA  94589
(707)557 5471

-----Original Message-----
From: buddha-l-bounces at mailman.swcp.com
[mailto:buddha-l-bounces at mailman.swcp.com] On Behalf Of JKirkpatrick
Sent: Sunday, June 13, 2010 5:22 PM
To: 'Buddhist discussion forum'
Subject: Re: [Buddha-l] Koheleth

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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