Ecclesiastes

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Ecclesiastes

(ēklē'zēăs`tēz), 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 SolomonWisdom of Solomon
or Wisdom,
early Jewish book included in the Septuagint and the Vulgate but not in the Hebrew Bible. The book opens with an exhortation to seek wisdom, followed by a statement on worldly attitudes.
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).

Bibliography

See J. L. Crenshaw, Ecclesiastes (1987); R. Alter, The Wisdom Books (2010). See also bibliography for Old TestamentOld Testament,
Christian name for the Hebrew Bible, which serves as the first division of the Christian Bible (see New Testament). The designations "Old" and "New" seem to have been adopted after c.A.D.
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.

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References in periodicals archive ?
The fact is that most Jewish readers do not know what sense to make of Koheleth, despite the fact that it is the assigned reading from Ketuvim/Writings for the holiday of Succot (perhaps not incidentally the feast of the ingathering of first fruits).
Various interpretations have been put forward in the effort to explain the meaning of Koheleth. Frequently, Koheleth is seen--and dismissed--as a book of simple hedonism, urging us to enjoy all the pleasures of life.
I learned more about preaching in the Koheleth sessions than I learned in seminary.
Koheleth Amerika serves as the foundation for this book.
How do we reconcile the philosophical skepticism of Koheleth (Ecclesiastes) with the orthodox beliefs in Proverbs, or the eroticism of The Song of Songs with the grieving of Lamentations, or the different views of Solomon in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles?
Wright, The Book of Koheleth [London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1888] p.
Anderson, "The Problematics of the Sitz im Leben of Koheleth." Old Testament Essays, 12 (1999) pp.
Koheleth uses the conventional terms tsadiq and rasha', to express the concepts of conventional morality and piety, 'the righteous and the wicked'; cf.
Pondering Ethics Lost after the Shoah, are we to agree with this learning from Koheleth: "Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun.
Rather than the despairing thoughts of a frustrated old man, in reality and correctly translated the Book of Ecclesiastes is a sermon of appreciation, "following a thematic progression that follows Koheleth's own discovery of meaning."
"Koheleth and Goethe's Faust" by Isaac Rosenberg (Issue XXXVII:2--April-June 2009) is highly interesting.
Whereas the Book of Job concerns itself with the disparity between happiness and virtue, the Book of Koheleth [Ecclesiastes] portrays life itself --with all its evils and contradictions--as a problem in need of explanation and justification.