Solomon and Solomonic Literature
There is a vast Solomon mythology: in Palestine, Abyssinia, Arabia, Persia, India, and Europe, the myths and legends concerning the traditional Wisest Man are various, and merit a comparative study they have not received. As the name Solomon seems to be allegorical, it is not possible to discover whether he is mentioned in any contemporary inscription by a real name, and the external and historical data are insufficient to prove certainly that an individual Solomon ever existed.1 But that a great personality now known under that name did exist, about three thousand years ago, will, I believe, be recognised by those who study the ancient literature relating to him. The earliest and most useful documents for such an investigation are: the first collection of Proverbs, x-xxii. 16; the second collection, xxv-xxix. 27; Psalms ii., xlv., lxxii., evidently Solomonic; 2 Samuel xii. 24, 25; and 1 Kings iv. 29-34. As, however, the object of this essay is not to prove the existence of Solomon, but to study the evolution of the human heart and mind under influences of which a peculiar series is historically associated with his name, he will be spoken of as a genuine figure, the reader being left to form his own conclusion as to whether he was such, if that incidental point interests him.
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