Jesus & Wisdom Ecclesiastes Is life lived in Vain? Author The author was a sage that reflected on the meaning of life during the time the Jews were under Greek rule He questioned the common notion that virtue leads to good fortune, and wickedness to misfortune. The author is Ecclesiastes in Greek (or Qoheleth in Hebrew) Ecclesiastes means member of an assembly Qoheleth means teacher He worried about injustice and wickedness the book The book is known for what appears to be a pessimistic outlook on life. He asked God, “Why?” He says that nothing makes a difference People are born, die, and are forgotten, and there is nothing new under the sun: “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!” (1:2). Here vanity means “meaninglessness.” Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) Wisdom in the Teachings of Israel Jesus Ben Sirach= author Ran a school for scriptural study and Jewish wisdom Wanted to instruct Jews who were confused by the philosophical question of the Greeks All wisdom comes from Godnot from the Greek thought! Recall: Greeks emphasized reason over faith Depicts wisdom as a woman who was with God at Creation- like Proverbs Wisdom is found in the teachings of Israel as given by God, and keeping the Commandments is the way to wisdom. The book’s alternate name is Ecclesiasticus- which means “church book” (is not the same as Ecclesiastes) Wisdom of Solomon The Author The author (called a sage) struggled with the problem of evil He refused to accept the idea that God rewards goodness and punishes sin in this life. He witnessed righteous Jews being tortured The answer was that rewards and punishment will not necessarily come in this life. Believed in afterlife The Greeks introduced the concepts of body and soul to Judaism The Book of Solomon: content Also called the Book of Wisdom- attributed to King Solomon, who died long before the book was written The vindication of the righteous is awaited after death. The hope is not for resurrection but for the continued life of the soul, which is untouched by torment or death. God did not make death death entered the world through “the envy of the devil” 2:24 The Spirit of God In the opening chapter of the book we are told that wisdom is a holy spirit (1:5) Wisdom is the spirit of the Lord that fills the whole world 1:7. A collection of love poems or love songs Also know as Song of Solomon or Canticles It is a collection of love poems that early interpreters saw as a religious allegory of God’s passion for Israel. It is a collection of love songs, a celebration of erotic love between man and woman. The association to Solomon is due to the fact that his name is mentioned six times. Solomon is never the speaker in any of the passages that mention him. Most often, the speaker is a woman, sometimes addressing the beloved directly, sometimes speaking to “the daughters of Jerusalem.” Major modern interpretations (1) a drama with either two or three main characters (2) a cycle of wedding songs (3) a single love poem or (4) a collection of love poems. Why is the Song of Songs a book of the Bible, when it does not even mention God? Some people think even its language of love and sexuality are inappropriate for a holy book. But the Jews and Christians who decided to include it in their respective Bibles recognized that God designed human love as a powerful and holy bond. Early interpreters of the book saw the work as a religious allegory. For both Jews and Christians- the bride and groom’s mutual love was an image of God’s love for and passionate devotion to Israel. For Christians- it was also a figure of Christ’s love for his “bride,” the church The bride longs to be as close to the groom as the name seal that he wears on a cord about his neck, resting on his heart. She would be one with him-as he and his name are one. In this passage we hear the well-known tribute to the power of love: Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. 8:6 Love can overcome death. This is the wisdom offered us by the Song of Songs.