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Ecclesiastes (ēklēˌzēăsˈtēz), book of the Bible, the name of which is a latinized derivation of the Hebrew Qohelet [the Preacher]. Although traditionally ascribed to Solomon (who is identified as the author in the text), it was clearly written much later (c.300 B.C.). Like Job, the book takes issue, it would seem, with the confident assertions of the Wisdom tradition exemplified by Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) and Proverbs, both of which stress the possibility of leading a life in harmony with cosmic order. For the author of Ecclesiastes, life bears no order and no meaning. Omnipresent wickedness and death are realities which mock all effort to find meaning and purpose in life. Moreover, the purposes of God cannot be fathomed. It opens with the theme that, since “all is vanity,” life should be enjoyed. This is followed by passages in praise of wisdom and mercy, with increasing emphasis on the universality of death; there is a brief epilogue on the fear of God's judgment. Despite the devout and ill-fitting conclusion of the work, the apparent cynicism of the book as a whole is said to have distressed the ancient rabbis; some scholars ascribe to pious correctors a number of nonpessimistic observations. Ecclesiastes is one of the biblical examples of wisdom literature (see Wisdom of Solomon).


See J. L. Crenshaw, Ecclesiastes (1987); R. Alter, The Wisdom Books (2010). See also bibliography for Old Testament.

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References in periodicals archive ?
This is clearly stated in Tosefta Yadayim 2:14 where Rabbi Shimon ben Mennassiah states that he rules that Song of Songs does defile the hands, as it was written with divine inspiration, whereas he rules Ecclesiastes is not as it was not written with divine inspiration.
Two generations ago one Old Testament commentator offered this rather banal and understated observation: "The book of Ecclesiastes is not as well known as it should be." (23) That state of affairs, vastly underestimated, has not changed.
"Ecclesiastes is looking for this brighter light, urging us to remember our creator while we are young, to enjoy the gifts of creation while remembering that we will die and face judgment," he said.
Jayadvaita reads through the Book of Ecclesiastes chapter by chapter, often verse by verse, exploring its meaning and its implication and offering often insightful perspectives on that text.
Ecclesiastes is Erasmus' most substantial writing, in which he re-emphasises "that grammar is the basis of all disciplines" and "dialectic is blind without grammar." (23) He once more addresses almost every subject that ever mattered to him throughout his life: the work "virtually recapitulates the entirety of the man's career." (24) However the lack of his opinions about Turks, pilgrimages, and indulgences is striking--opinions that he repeatedly included elsewhere in his works and particularly in the other writings under discussion here.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Proverbs and Ecclesiastes: A Theological Commentary on the Bible" is impressively well informed and informative.
In the opinion of Gordis (Robert Gordis, Koheleth, the man and his world: A Study of Ecclesiastes [third ed.; New York: Schocken, 1968] p.
After a discussion of biblical attitudes toward animals in general, and ranging through such topics as the Ark and the prohibition on taking a mother bird with her young, Shalev offers a prolonged account of the contemporary Hebrew idiom "the fence-breaker will be bitten by a snake," which, he points out, derives from Ecclesiastes. It is conventionally understood to mean that whoever does bad will get what he deserves.
The premise for this paper is in the Bible verse Ecclesiastes 2:26: (NASB) "For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy..." The Christian learner is given wisdom (insight), knowledge and joy (learning satisfaction).
SAY not thou, "What is the cause that the former days were better than these?" Ecclesiastes 7, 10.
Blocks Security Council Censure of Israeli Settlements", NYT Friday 18 February, I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 1:9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.