In this addition to the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms series, Craig Bartholomew, coauthor of the well-received Drama of Scripture and a leading voice in the call for a renewal of theological biblical interpretation, combines a careful exegetical reading of the book of Ecclesiastes with keen theological insights. Along with helpful translation and commentary, Ecclesiastes considers the theological implications of the text and its literary, historical, and grammatical dimensions. Wrestling with the timeless enigmas of life, Ecclesiastes is a fruitful resource for preaching and teaching in our postmodern age. Bartholomew’s renowned exegetical and theological skills are evident in his translation and verse-by-verse commentary.
This volume also includes an introduction, footnotes on technical details, an appendix in reading and applying the “Preacher’s” message today, and an extensive bibliography. This resource is both scholarly and readable, presenting an historical, theological, and applicable survey of the riches of Wisdom literature.
“Ecclesiastes is more nuanced than this. Qohelet demonstrates the futility of trying to find meaning in a fallen world apart from remembering one’s Creator and starting with the fear of the Lord, but he also affirms life, and he resolves this tension at the conclusion of his journey precisely through his exhortation to remember one’s Creator. Thus the futility Ecclesiastes exposes is that of trying to find meaning while embracing human autonomy in a world that depends at every point on its Creator.” (Page 97)
“‘remember’ governs 12:1–7. Here ‘remember’ means much more than intellectual acknowledgment of God as Creator.34 It refers to allowing the notion of God as Creator to shape one’s view of life and one’s handling of life’s enigmas now.” (Page 345)
“Miller discerns three referents of hebel in Ecclesiastes: insubstantiality, transience, and foulness.” (Page 106)
“In my view scholars continually fall into the trap of leveling Qohelet toward his hebel pole, or toward his carpe diem—affirmation-of-joy pole. This is to ignore the literary juxtaposition of contradictory views that is central to the book and the life-death tension it embodies. Qohelet’s autonomous epistemology, depending on observation, experience, and reason alone,398 leads him continually to the hebel conclusion, which is juxtaposed again and again with his carpe diem confessions of the goodness of life. The book is about the struggle to live with and resolve the agonized tension between these two poles.” (Page 93)
“The sacrifice of the fools should be thought of not as a denial of the value of sacrifice per se but as a critique of superficial religion that goes through the rituals with many words but no awareness of God.” (Pages 203–204)
This book is worthy of purchase certainly by Qohelet experts but also by general scholars and educated laypeople. Young scholars will find it especially helpful as an introduction to contemporary issues. It is eminently readable, original, interesting, and deep.
—Mark Sneed, Catholic Biblical Quarterly
It is a rare commentary that is both readable and learned. Even rarer is one that immerses readers in the deep questions of life. Bartholomew’s new book helps us to think our way through Ecclesiastes and its mazes. More than that, it confronts us anew with the mystery and responsibility of human existence before the face of God.
—Raymond C. Van Leeuwen, professor of biblical studies, Eastern University
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.