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Ecclesiastes (The Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary | THOTC)

, 2011
ISBN: 9780802866493
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Ecclesiastes is an Old Testament book with a long history of diverse and contradictory interpretations. Even basic questions—who wrote the book, when, and for what purpose—perennially plague scholars. The book’s theological message is likewise elusive, hidden in riddles and convoluted trains of thought that twist and turn back upon themselves.

In this expert commentary on Ecclesiastes, Peter Enns neither disregards nor attempts to resolve the book’s many theological tensions and ambiguities. Rather, he shows how these form the backdrop against which the author struggles to show readers the proper path forward in their journeys of faith—remaining true to the tradition to “fear God and keep the commands” despite the apparent futility of human existence.

Resource Experts
  • Theological answers to a biblical book riddled with questions
  • Written in an academic yet readable style
  • Perfect for students, pastors, those in the academic world, and laity

Top Highlights

“As if to frustrate humanity further, God has also set עֹלָם‎/ʿōlām into their hearts (v. 11). We must resist reading foreign notions of ‘eternity’ into ʿōlām (see 1:4, 10; 2:16). Qohelet is not saying that, despite this sorry state of affairs, God reminds us that there is an afterlife awaiting us, where all these questions will be answered. Rather, God has put in our hearts, that is, made us aware of, the expanse of time, both backward and forward.5 We, as human beings, are unfortunately conscious of the passage of time, and we can extrapolate on and on, both back in time and forward in time. This is precisely what Qohelet is doing, for example, in 1:9–10. He is able to say that, regardless of outward appearances, there really is nothing new—ever.” (Pages 54–55)

“I take the view that the epilogue fundamentally supports Qohelet’s observations while at the same time offering a mild ‘corrective’ by placing Qohelet’s observations in a broader (and traditional) theological context. In other words, there are elements of both confirmation and correction, but the latter is undertaken within the overall context of the former.” (Page 6)

“Since 1:2 and 12:8 frame Ecclesiastes in this way, 1:1–11 and 12:8–14 are often referred to as the frame of the book, and the speaker of these sections as the ‘frame narrator.’ How one understands the relationship between this third person frame and the first person body of Ecclesiastes will determine how one understands the message of the book as a whole.” (Page 5)

“This attitude toward reading Ecclesiastes (and the OT as a whole) is what can be referred to as a Christotelic reading.69 Rather than placing Christ ‘in’ the book of Ecclesiastes, a Christotelic reading sees Christ as the climactic end (Greek telos) of Israel’s story, which is the vantage point from which we today engage the book.” (Pages 28–29)

  • Title: Two Horizons Commentary: Ecclesiastes
  • Author: Peter Enns
  • Series: Two Horizons Commentary
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 272

In the Logos edition, this valuable volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English Bible translations, and important terms link to a wealth of other resources in your digital library, including tools for original languages, dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, and theology texts. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Peter Enns is an American Old Testament scholar and was professor of Old Testament and biblical hermeneutics at Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS), Philadelphia until 2008. He has a BA from Messiah College (1982), an MDiv from Westminster Theological Seminary (1989), and MA (1993) and PhD (1994) from Harvard University where he also served as a Teaching Fellow from 1990–1994. Enns was the editor of the Westminster Theological Journal from 2000–2005. WTS suspended Enns following the end of the Spring semester, 2008 due to the theological issues raised in his book Inspiration and Incarnation. Enns decided to leave WTS after 14 years and did so on mutually agreeable terms with the WTS administration.

Two features distinguish the Two Horizons Commentary series: theological exegesis and theological reflection. Exegesis since the Reformation era and especially in the past two hundred years emphasized careful attention to philology, grammar, syntax, and concerns of a historical nature. More recently, commentary has expanded to include social-scientific, political, or canonical questions and more. Without slighting the significance of those sorts of questions, scholars in the Two Horizons Commentary locate their primary interests on theological readings of texts, past and present. The result is a paragraph-by-paragraph engagement with the text that is deliberately theological in focus. Two Horizons Commentary is written primarily for students, pastors, and other Christian leaders seeking to engage in theological interpretation of Scripture.


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  1. Gary Killen

    Gary Killen


  2. Ralph A. Abernethy III
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Digital list price: $22.99
Save $5.00 (21%)