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date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Qohelet (Greek/Latin: Ecclesiastes) is a very enigmatic book in the Hebrew Bible. Its critical, sometimes ironic or depressive approach to fundamental values of daily life (property; honor; power; intelligence; reward), however, has antecedents and parallels in Ancient Near Eastern wisdom. Also, it is not foreign to other writings of the Bible. Disconcerting as the absence of JHWH’s name and salvific deeds for Israel may be, the booklet, eventually becoming the festive lecture at the autumnal Feast of Booths, came into being as a textbook in some educational or scholarly institution of ancient Judaism (third century bce), complementing the study of Torah. Vanity and carpe-diem motives permeate the collection. The anonymous author(s) partially speak(s) in the guise of Salomon. Today’s interpretations focus on literary composition, autobiographic experiences of one or more authors, communitarian debate, reactions to historical events or philosophical currents, general skepticism, and eruptive bliss as components of Jewish theology.

Keywords: wisdom, skepticism, vanity, bliss, carpe diem, Feast of Booths, Salomon, reward, deed-consequence nexus

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