[Buddha-l] Koheleth

Timothy Smith smith at wheelwrightassoc.com
Mon Jun 14 00:30:39 MDT 2010

As the co-author of "The Limerick Homer", a not so rigorous transliteration of both great books (I/O) that is  alleged to be the longest limerick in the cosmos,  I certainly think
Bob is right in his assertion that nothing ever receives its final form. Its vitality, we assure along with its impermanence.


El Timo de Irlandés.

Timothy Smith

On Jun 13, 2010, at 10:16 PM, Bob Woolery wrote:

> 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
> www.stateoftheartchiro.com
> (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?
> Joanna 
> ____________________
> Gang,
> 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
> way:
>    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.
> Franz
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