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Ecclesiastes: Biographie


Ecclesiastes, Qohelet in Hebrew, is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The title derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title (variously transliterated as Qoheleth, Qohelethh, Kohelet, Koheleth, or Coheleth).

Author

In the two opening chapters the author describes himself as the son of David, and king over Israel in Jerusalem, presenting himself as a philosopher at the center of a brilliant court. This could apply only to king Solomon, for his successors in Jerusalem were kings over Judah only. Consequently, the traditional Rabbinic and early Christian view attributed Ecclesiastes to king Solomon. This view has been abandoned by many modern critical scholars, who now assume that Qoheleth is a work in the pseudepigraphical tradition that borrowed weight for a new work by putting it in the mouth of a well-known sage. The modern critical view is that Ecclesiastes was written around 250 BC by a non-Hellenized intellectual in the milieu of the Temple in Jerusalem. The latest possible date for it is set by the fact that Ben Sirach (written cca 180 BC) repeatedly quotes or paraphrases it, as from a canonic rather than a contemporary writing.

Yet many modern conservative scholars today also recognize that Solomon is an unlikely author. Since this work is found within the Ketuvim, there must be some room for poetical treatment. There are two voices in the book, the frame-narrator (1.1-11; 12.9-14) and Qoheleth (1.12-12.8). Though this is not considered to be indicative of two authors, it does encourage the reader to place himself within the frame and see the pursuit of Wisdom from the perspective of Solomon. Thus, the author is probably a Hebrew poet who is using the life of Solomon as a vista for the Hebrews' pursuit of Wisdom (Ecc 1.13, 7.25 8.16; Job 28.12). This would place the book in the latter days of the canonical writings (see Josephus' claim for a closed canon in the early post exilic age Against Apion 1.38-42) when wisdom seemed out of reach to the Hebrews (Ecc 1.17, 7.23; Pro 30.1-3)






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