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Luther's Works [LW] Volume 15: Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and the Last Word
Concordia Publishing House / 1972 / Hardcover
$34.00 (CBD Price)
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CBD Stock No: WW6415X
This volume contains three works that exemplify and state Luther's principles of Old Testament exegesis. All three are on less familiar Old Testament texts. All of these texts have, in Luther's estimation, suffered from intolerable misapprehensions and interpretations. They stand in need of rescue from obscure translation and interpretation. The notes on Ecclesiastes (1532) admit that Ecclesiastes is one of the more difficult books of the Bible, but Luther points out that the "difficulties" arise because commentators have failed to understand the purpose of the book and have taken no intelligent approach to those strange ways of speaking called Hebraisms. He shows that Ecclesiastes does not condemn the creatures of God, it condems man's depraved affections and desires. It does not promote 'contempt of the world' nor teach that we ought 'to be in doubt about the grace and love of God toward us.' This book, Luther thinks, ought to be called Solomon's "Economics", for it teaches that 'we may with Thanksgiving use the things that are present and the creatures of God that are generously given to us . . . without anxiety about the things that are still to come'. LECTURES ON THE SONGS OF SOLOMON (1531) describe previous interpretations of the Song of Songs as 'immature and strange.' Luther thinks of this Biblical book as Solomons "Politics", for in it Solomon 'thanks God for his Divinely established kingdom, prays for the preservation and extension of this kingdom, and encourages the citizens of his realm to be of good cheer in their trials and adversities and to trust in God.' This 'encomium of the political order' is at the same time 'a common song for all states' and thus for the people of God, for Solomon's example is to give thanks to God, to acknowledge His highest benefits, and to pray for correction, should anything reprehensible befall the realm. This leads naturally to the third item, the TREATISE ON THE LAST WORDS OF DAVID (1543), for the question concerning the proper method of interpreting the Old Testament is now inescapable. Luther gives his answer at length on the basis of 1Samuel 23:1-7. He sums it up in the sentence: "Whoever does not have pr want to have this man properly and truly who is called Jesus Christ, God's Son, whom we Christians proclaim, must keep his hands off the Bible . . . Thre more he studies, the blinder and more stupid he will grow. . . "
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