Jan 8, 2014 · 7:00 PM
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We will be experimenting with a limit of 20 people for this popular reading. We will see how it goes. And because of the numbers, we will be hosting it at the James Street Pub on Bank Street @ James. As always, there will be no charge for the meetup or venue. However, please come prepared to support our host with a purchase of food and/or drinks.
There is little dispute among literary scholars that the Bible epitomizes what it means for any text to become canonic. Decisions always need to be made about what goes into the "canon" of approved works - and what stays out. The official list of what went into the Bible - and what stayed out - symbolizes canon formation. The Bible's Hebrew was translated into Greek, which was in turn translated into Latin. It is the foundational text of Western literature and Western civilization.
The Book of Ecclesiastes is presented as the autobiography of Koheleth, the "Teacher". The introductory Commentary to the New International Version Study Bible says this about the Book: "With his life largely behind him, the author takes stock of the world as he has experienced it between the horizons of birth and death - the latter an horizon beyond which man cannot see. The world is seen as being full of enigmas, the greatest of which is man himself. From the perspective of his own understanding, the Teacher takes measure of man, examining his capabilities. He discovers that human wisdom, even that of a godly person, has limits. It cannot find out the larger purposes of God or the ultimate meaning of man's existence..."
Its theme is "the meaninglessness of man's existence on earth apart from God". Its author is unknown, although some scholars speculate from select passages in the Book that it might have been written by King Solomon. Others speculate that it was written in the 3rd Century B.C..
Ecclesisates has had a deep influence on Western literature. Thomas Wolfe wrote about the Book: "... of all I have ever seen or learned, that book seems to me the noblest, the wisest, and the most powerful expression of man's life upon this earth — and also the highest flower of poetry, eloquence, and truth. I am not given to dogmatic judgments in the matter of literary creation, but if I had to make one I could say that Ecclesiastes is the greatest single piece of writing I have ever known, and the wisdom expressed in it the most lasting and profound." Well worth our attention.
Peter will be leading us in this reading of Ecclesiastes. You won't want to miss our first meetup of 2014.