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Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs

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Lesson

This lesson briefly describes existentialism as a philosophical movement in order to frame Ecclesiastes as an ancient type of existentialist literature. Existentialism tends to argue that this life is all there is. Ecclesiastes entertains these various perspectives in the first six chapters, which serve as a literary foil, before ending with a surprise for the reader—life does have meaning because there is a God who will judge our actions.

There is a storyline to the Song. A clue is found in the term Shulamite, which in Hebrew can be translated as Mrs. Solomon. So this is a story about Solomon marrying his wife. It conveys some of the challenges Solomon and his wife face in coming together in covenant marriage. The beginning of the book outlines their engagement. In the middle of the book they get married, and the end discusses their honeymoon. What we see in the Song is the biblical ideal of a monogamous marriage, which, ironically, Solomon failed to live up to.

Outline

Poetry and Wisdom:  Ecclesiastes

 

I.  Existentialism

A.  Theistic Existentialism

B.  Dostoevsky and Nietzsche

C.  "Because of death, life is absurd."

 

II.  Summary

A.  Chapter 1

B.  Chapter 2

C.  Chapter 3

D.  Chapter 4

E.  Chapter 5

F.  Chapter 6

G.  Not Meaningless At All

 

III.  Foils.

A.  Tempting, misleading alternatives

B.  "If this life is all there is ..."

C.  Emptiness of life

D.  Argument for judgment and life after death

 

Poetry and Wisdom:  Song of Songs

 

I.  Romance is Essential

 

II.  Applying the Song of Songs

A.  True love is exclusive and faithful.

B.  True love is staying attracted to one person.

C.  True love is acting like the two of you are one flesh.

D.  True love leads to sex only in marriage.

E.  True love preserves romance in marriage.

F.  True love is both pure and permanent.

 

III.  Comparison to Modern Love Songs