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Studies on Ecclesiastes Collection (2 vols.)
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Studies on Ecclesiastes Collection (2 vols.)

by ,

T&T Clark, Almond Press 1989–2006

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


The book of Ecclesiastes mystifies scholars and general readers alike, with its conflicting views on life, death, and existence. Some see it as a hopeless view of life, while others view it as a call to living a good life. In this two-volume collection, two academics wrestle with the implications of Qohelet, the Hebrew word for the speaker of the text. Both authors focus on interpretation and structure of the book; specifically the confusing ideas throughout.

In (Per)mutations of Qohelet, Jennifer Koosed uses a literary approach, centering on the identity of the preacher and his relationship with the reader. She examines autobiographical issues and relates them to the idea of body and form throughout the book. Michael V. Fox, in Qohelet and His Contradictions, addresses the complexities not as problems, but as keys to understanding the tension in Qohelet’s ideas. He provides commentary on terminology, language, style, and structure, and offers invaluable insight into the complexities of this Old Testament book. This collection will be of special interest to students, professors, laity, and anyone wanting to understand this perplexing book and its commentary on existence. It includes bibliographies, notes, indexes, and in-depth table of contents to guide study.

Key Features

  • Introduction to key issues on Ecclesiastes
  • Uses academic yet readable approach
  • Contains charts, graphs, indexes, and notes

Individual Titles

(Per)mutations of Qohelet

  • Author: Jennifer L. Koosed
  • Publisher: T&T Clark International
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 149

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

(Per)mutations of Qohelet explores the question, Who is Qohelet? Rather than peering behind or through the text to answer this question in terms of authorship, Koosed analyzes the identity that is created through the words on the page. The text is not a transparent medium connecting reader with author; instead, it is an opaque body—it has weight, substance, skin. Koosed begins with an analysis of the ways in which words construct identities and the reasons why words can affect us so profoundly, relying primarily on the work of Judith Butler and Elaine Scarry. She then explores autobiography and how the genre of autobiography—as reconfigured by Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida—relates to Qohelet. These two chapters then set the framework for what follows: an analysis of the various bodily organs and sensations contained within the book of Qohelet. The body is embedded in the text through the naming of body parts (eye, hand, heart). And this same body is encoded in form, structure, and syntax, so that the text becomes a body with organs, systems, and even a life of its own. The book is a body and the book speaks of bodies. It speaks of the body’s organs and senses; it concerns itself with the pleasures and pains of the body, the gendered body, the dying body. Finally, the ritual body is highlighted in the final passage of this enigmatic book.

Jennifer L. Koosed, Ph.D., is associate professor of Religion at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Qohelet and His Contradictions

  • Author: Michael V. Fox
  • Publisher: Sheffield Academic Press
  • Publication Date: 1989
  • Pages: 534

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Biblical scholar Michael V. Fox seeks to address the complexities and so-called “absurdities” of Ecclesiastes, or “Qohelet,” the Hebrew word for the preacher. He focuses not on resolving the contradictions, but on seeing them as part of the overall structure and meaning of the book. Fox gives an in-depth introduction to the historical exegetical studies of Ecclesiastes and explains his own position. He then divides the discussion into five sections:

  • The Meaning of Hebel and Re'ut-ruah in Qohelet
  • Toil and Pleasure
  • The Way of Wisdom: Qohelet’s Epistemology
  • Justice and Theodicy
  • Commentary

The first four sections contains the same format, in which Fox names a specific contradiction and terminology. The last section provides Fox’s commentary on the whole of Ecclesiastes, including purpose, key words, language, structure, and translations. Fox also gives a bibliography and indexes of authors and subjects.

Michael V. Fox is professor of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Product Details

  • Title: Studies on Ecclesiastes Collection (2 vols.)
  • Volumes: 2
  • Pages: 683