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, the newest addition to the Two Horizons Commentary series, 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.
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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Peter Enns is currently senior fellow in biblical studies at the BioLogos Foundation. Previously, he has taught at Westminster Theological Seminary, Harvard University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Fuller Theological Seminary. His books include Incarnation and Inspiration: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament and (with Tremper Longman III) Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry, and Writings.