Ecclesiastes: Annotated & Explained
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About the Author
Rami Shapiro, a renowned teacher of spirituality across faith traditions, is an award-winning storyteller, poet and essayist. He is author of The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice, Recovery-The Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice and The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature: Selections Annotated & Explained (all SkyLight Paths), among other books.
Rami Shapiro is available to speak on the following topics:
- Writing-The Sacred Art: Beyond the Page to Spiritual Practice
- Stop Playing God: 12 Steps as Spiritual Practice
- Biblical Wisdom for Post-biblical Times: An Exploration of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job
- The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Cultivating Compassion in Daily Life
- Hasidic Wisdom: An Exploration of Hasidic Storytelling, Theology and Contemplative Practice
- Saints and Sages: Biblical Prophets, Ancient Rabbis and the Building of a Just World
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is a gifted translator and teacher and provides a text that is clear and easy to understand. In his extensive preface he clearly outlines his own presuppositions and his approach to the text of Ecclesiastes. Heavily influenced by Buddhism, he understands the references to "God" in the text as referring to nature or the way things are "under the sun." He tempers his views by noting his understanding that the author is writing for people of all faiths and backgrounds. The book also includes a foreword by Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton.
Shapiro's notes compare the text of Ecclesiastes with Pirke Avot, as well as with the classic wisdom literature of other religions, and of classical philosophy. According to Rabbi Shapiro, Ecclesiastes is the one book of the Hebrew Bible that speaks to those who may be alienated from traditional religion. The text never uses the Tetragrammaton, and does not discuss devotional practices or life after death. It hews to a simple but thought provoking message that says that the key to a happy and well lived life is to eat and drink simply and moderately, to find good and satisfying work and to cultivate a few close relationships. Rabbi Shapiro emphasizes this point over and over again in his comments.
Not all will agree with all of his interpretations and conclusions. Nonetheless Rabbi Shapiro's book is a serious, well thought out, and well written contribution to a perplexing part of the Hebrew Bible. His work deserves to be included in all collections devoted to Biblical Studies and Jewish thought, and is appropriate for all adult students of the Bible whether in academia or in the general community.--Association of Jewish Libraries