Sep 22, 2022
Out of all the apocryphal writings I've collected, I think the Odes of Solomon is the most beautiful, inspiring and inspired. It is the would-be book of New Testament psalms! The Book of the Odes has been described as the first known hymn-book of early Christianity. They have nothing to do with "Solomon" but somewhere-along-the-way got mislabeled and assigned to the genre of Old Testament Apocrypha as the Odes represent one of the earliest of Christian documents near the beginning of the Jesus movement within Judaism and so composed before a time when there were many Jewish or Christian writings associated with a "new covenant", and long before the concept of a New Testament canon or collection of scriptures was conceived of. Thus, this collection of psalms was named in a way that's reminiscent of how some scriptures were assigned names during the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the pseudepigraphical literature. This indicates a very early date of composition. The Odes of Solomon consist of 41 psalms. The Odes are believed to have originated in either Antioch or Edessa in Syriac-Aramaic most likely during the First Century AD. One scholar (James Charlesworth) said of the Odes, "Here are some of the most beautiful songs of peace and joy that the world possesses." The New Testament scholar Bentley Layton says that the Odes were considered to be inspired scripture and were chanted by Christians who lived in Syria and all around Mesopotamia about 2,000 years ago. J. Rendel Harris, the discoverer of one Syriac-Aramaic manuscript of the Odes, said the Odes were eventually included in the Sahidic Bible of Egypt. These ecstatic hymns remind me of Rumi or Sufi love poetry in the tradition of "the lover and the Beloved." They also remind me of the Sikh scriptures (Adi Granth) and mystic poetry of the Sants. Many have adopted the practice of contemplating the verses of the Odes and report being brought to a deeper level of devotion (bhakti); being caught up in a love-affair with God, the Ocean of Love. That's also been my experience.
In Divine Love, Light and Sound, Peace Be To You,
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