The Book of Ecclesiastes, like many ancient and modern first-person discourses, generates ambivalent responses in its readers. The book's rhetorical strategy produces both acceptance of, and suspicion towards, the major positions argued by the author.
“Vain rhetoric” aptly describes the persuasive and dissuasive properties of the narrator's peculiar characterization. It also describes how the Book of Ecclesiastes, with its abundant use of rhetorical questions, constant gapping techniques, and other strategies from the arsenal of ambiguity, is a stunning testimony to the power of the various strategies of indirection to communicate to the reader something of his or her own rhetorical liabilities and limitations, as well as those of the religious community in general.
- Title: Vain Rhetoric: Private Insight and Public Debate in Ecclesiastes
- Author: Gary Salyer
- Series: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement series (JSOTS)
- Volume: 327
- Publication Date: 2001
- Pages: 448
About Gary Salyer
Gary Salyer is Adjunct Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary of Northern California, Menlo Park, California.