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The Way of Solomon: Finding Joy and Contentment in the Wisdom of Ecclesiastes [Hardcover]

By Rami Shapiro (Author)
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Item description for The Way of Solomon: Finding Joy and Contentment in the Wisdom of Ecclesiastes by Rami Shapiro...

Outline ReviewThe Way of Solomon: Finding Joy and Contentment in the Wisdom of Ecclesiastes is Rami Shapiro's new interpretation of one of the Bible's oldest books. Shapiro's fascination with Ecclesiastes began when he discovered that the Hebrew word commonly translated as "vanity" could also mean "empty." For Shapiro, this discovery added a new and Eastern dimension to Solomon's famous line, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!" and drove Shapiro to engage the book of Ecclesiastes in a holistic way. "Solomon looked and saw that all was empty of permanence; and that so much of our energies are invested in a pursuit of permanence that is doomed from the start. Ecclesiastes is his report of his journey to the heart of reality, and his insights into how we should live given the facts of life's impermanence. The only way to do justice to the text is to follow its author in looking at reality," he explains. The Way of Solomon includes Shapiro's translation of Ecclesiastes, notes from his wide-ranging research on the text, and reflections on his practice of meditation with Ecclesiastes. In Shapiro's hands, Ecclesiastes becomes something that many, many Christians are looking for these days--a kind of missing link between Buddhism and Christianity.

Product Description

"Thus I understand the simple truth of life:
There is nothing better than for you to rejoice
in every deed done in harmony with the moment.
For doing is your purpose;
in doing is your meaning.
Leave the result to those who come after you,
and attend solely to doing well that which must be done at all."

In this thoughtful, fresh interpretation, Rami Shapiro presents King Solomon's philosophy as that of a Taoist sage and the book of Ecclesiastes not as a lamentation of life's vanities and meaninglessness but as a guide to reality and how to embrace it with joy and tranquility. Shapiro's Ecclesiastes shows modern spiritual seekers the way to truth, gratitude, contentment, and joy.

Traditional translations of Ecclesiastes dampen the hopeful spirit of Solomon's message, while Shapiro's rendition illuminates an ancient wisdom as timely and relevant today as ever. Shapiro boldly asserts that Solomon didn't in fact cry "vanity of vanities," as his words are so often translated, but rather, "Emptiness, emptiness, all is emptiness." Read this way, the message becomes a meditation on the promise of finding joy in even the most ordinary of daily acts and true peace of mind in our contemporary world of ego and artificial distractions.

Positioning Solomon as a realist with the instincts of a Zen master who seeks a path away from illusion and toward true enlightenment, Shapiro presents an innovative, engaging translation of the full text, and then lingers over the most moving and important passages, offering real-world examples of how this classic book of wisdom can be incorporated into our own lives. Solomon beseeches us to accept impermanence in order to embrace the present with freshness of body and mind. He calls on us to engage each moment, lest we miss today by agonizing about yesterday or daydreaming about tomorrow. And he urges us to recognize and celebrate the interdependence of all things, so that we may act justly and compassionately.

Shapiro's passion for the timeless message of Ecclesiastes is evident throughout The Way of Solomon. He encourages us to read with open minds and hearts, to savor the wisdom of this ever-popular book of the Bible, to consider its implications carefully for our own lives, and to commit ourselves to testing its truth against our own experiences.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.57" Width: 5.26" Height: 1.02"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2000
Publisher   HarperOne
ISBN  0060673001  
ISBN13  9780060673000  
UPC  099455018005  

Availability  0 units.

More About Rami Shapiro

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Rami Shapiro has been a congregational rabbi for 20 years, is currently an adjunct professor of religious studies at Middle Tennessee State University, and directs One River, a not-for-profit educational foundation. He is the author of "Hasidic Tales: Annotated and Explained," "The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness," and "The Way of Solomon." He lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Rami Shapiro has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Art of Spiritual Living
  2. SkyLight Illuminations

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Faith
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Old Testament
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Old Testament > Old Testament
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Way of Solomon: Finding Joy and Contentment in the Wisdom of Ecclesiastes?

Rami Shapiro is a gift to humanity  Mar 24, 2008
Rami's translations are inspired. I have found meaning in each of his texts. Read them slowly and savor the wisdom. Thank you Rami
Wisdom teaching.   Jun 12, 2007
Shapiro notes "If we have the courage to really listen to what Solomon is saying, however, we will find that the absence of permanence is the most liberating insight of all." Liberating indeed!

Not possessing Hebrew translation skills, I cannot attest to the erudition of Shapiro's insight of the Hebrew. As a life long mediator, I can attest to the value of the insight he offers as wisdom. This is a gem of a book. I've used it, reread it often over the years, and am constantly surprised by the depth of insight he offers to reveal nuance of the text.

Over the years, I have also studied more contemporary translations of Ecclesiastes and have concluded it to be one of the wisest books ever written. Shapiro's insight provides one facet of the jewel. If you enter with an empty cup, you might find some depth into a wisdom that speaks to modern men and women. Drink deep, because the rewards might help sweep away the fog of forgetfulness. I give this book my highest recommendation.
Not exactly the "Way" of Solomon.  Aug 27, 2003
As one who has repeatedly mulled over Solomon's Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, I was drawn to this book with no small anticipation. I was disappointed; the exegesis here is pressed into a modern, ad hoc spirituality. Rami Shapiro's "contemporary Jewish spirituality" is often misspent neo-Taoism. The author's caricature of Solomon's wisdom seems, to this reader, to amount to 'just be contented.' Period. "Rejoicing without reason," he calls it. No reason? While Solomon does indeed instruct that it is "vanity... meaningless... empty..." to pursue the foolishness of the human will, he restrains this indictment to the doings of humanity. Solomon gives us the impermanence of the material, yes, but also the permanence of the Immaterial. Solomon gives us the Source, which is not empty: "Notice the way God does things; then fall into line. Don't fight the ways of God, for who can straighten out what he has made crooked?" (Eccl 7:13)

Lao-tzu was not as uncomfortable with a relevant God as is this "contemporary" rabbi:
"Returning to the source is serenity;
it is to realize one's destiny.
To realize one's destiny
is to know the Eternal Constant.
To know the Eternal Constant
is to be enlightened.
To be ignorant of this
is blindness that begets evil." (Tao Te Ching, verse 16)

"But, my child, be warned: there is no end of opinions ready to be expressed," (Eccl 12:12). The Hebrew king/scholar/sage told us of the Source of the contentment that it is important we find now, before "the light of the sun and moon and stars is dim to your old eyes." On the final page, Shapiro translates/interprets Solomon as "knowing that all is God." The way of Spinoza, yes. The Way of Solomon, no. For that matter, not exactly the way of Lao-tzu either.

Transcends Barriers  Apr 29, 2002
I am absolutely captured by this book! I stumbled across it at the library doing some research for a college paper. I am not identified with any religion in specific, and tend to consider myself simply "myself." Therefore, it surprised me how meaningful and inspiring this book journey's way beyond any sectarian boundaries...and Rami Shapiro is a wonderful guide. It is truly a look into the "Way Of" life...similar to Celestine Prophecy, and the like. Absolutely beautiful! I'm buying it for several special people in my life...hopefully you, too, will be moved by Rami Shapiro's interpretation of Solomon's Ecclesiastes.
An Interpretation That Brings Together the East and the West  Aug 27, 2001
In an era where so many Jews are seeking spiritual guidance outside of Judaism and looking to Eastern mysticism, Rabbi Rami Shapiro provides a beautiful interpretation of King Solomon's book Ecclesiastes. After reading Shapiro's interpretation, there will be little doubt that King Solomon was indeed the richest and wisest person that has ever lived. You will come away feeling at awe and humbled in very much the same way the ancient Insraelites must have felt when given the Torah (AKA The Old Testament") and the disciples of Jesus felt at his Sermon on the Mount. Your life, your work and your joys and challenges will never feel the same way to you. Shapiro's rendition is pure poetry and nothing less than genius. This is a book that you will have to come back to time and time again. The key to Shapiro's insight into Ecclesiastes is the way he blends together Eastern and Judaic-Christian thought. Shapiro presents Solomon in the light of a Zen master lecturing his pupils in the futility of control and the illusion of permanence. Please note that this book is not just for Jews. King Solomon's wisdom represents truth regardless of race, ethnicity and religion. The wisdom of Solomon transcends religious doctrine and represents undeniable truth. Rami Shapiro is a true rabbi in every sense of the word. He is a teacher of life. Thank you Rabbi Shapiro for bringing King Solomon's wisdom to life.

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