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What are the Odes of Solomon?

Odes of Solomon

The Odes of Solomon are a series of Christian hymns believed to have been written in the late first century AD. This collection is entirely separate from the Psalms of Solomon, a group of 18 psalms composed sometime around 60 BC in response to the Roman invasion of Israel. The Odes of Solomon were not included in the canon of Scripture, nor were they considered divinely inspired by the early Christian church. Historians are unsure when or why the odes became associated with the name of Solomon, since the text itself does not claim him as the author.

As with all hymns, the contents of the Odes of Solomon express cornerstone elements of faith. The poetic structure of the odes allows worshipers to more easily learn and remember the doctrines contained in them. Like any other extrabiblical material, there are details in these songs that are questionable and should be subject to scrutiny. Some have suggested that certain of the odes support Gnostic heresies, though Gnostic teaching is not explicit in the Odes of Solomon.

Of particular interest is the way the Odes of Solomon depict the Trinity. Worship is directed to the Father, Son, and Spirit at various times. Rudimentary depictions of Trinitarian ideas are also found in these songs. This is a notable point, given that these works were composed around the same time as the canon of the New Testament was being completed. Ignatius of Antioch, who might have been a student of the apostle John, is believed to have quoted from the Odes of Solomon in his writings. This historical connection helps to explain the idea that Trinitarian theology was not invented centuries after Christ; rather, it was a biblical doctrine that was codified in response to heresy.

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This page last updated: January 4, 2022