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Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes (ēklē´zēăs´tēz), book of the Bible, the name of which is a latinized derivation of the Hebrew Qohelet [the Preacher]. Although traditionally ascribed to Solomon (who is identified as the author in the text), it was clearly written much later (c.300 BC). Like Job, the book takes issue, it would seem, with the confident assertions of the Wisdom tradition exemplified by Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) and Proverbs, both of which stress the possibility of leading a life in harmony with cosmic order. For the author of Ecclesiastes, life bears no order and no meaning. Omnipresent wickedness and death are realities which mock all effort to find meaning and purpose in life. Moreover, the purposes of God cannot be fathomed. It opens with the theme that, since "all is vanity," life should be enjoyed. This is followed by passages in praise of wisdom and mercy, with increasing emphasis on the universality of death; there is a brief epilogue on the fear of God's judgment. Despite the devout and ill-fitting conclusion of the work, the apparent cynicism of the book as a whole is said to have distressed the ancient rabbis; some scholars ascribe to pious correctors a number of nonpessimistic observations. Ecclesiastes is one of the biblical examples of wisdom literature (see Wisdom of Solomon).

See J. L. Crenshaw, Ecclesiastes (1987); R. Alter, The Wisdom Books (2010). See also bibliography for Old Testament.

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Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes (Heb., Qoheleth). A book in the Hebrew scriptures. Written by ha-Qoheleth (often tr. as ‘the preacher’, but more accurately ‘the convoker’), ‘Son of David, king in Jerusalem’, the book is traditionally ascribed to Solomon and is one of a group, collectively described as the five scrolls. The writer argues that everything is ordained by God and that ultimately the life of humanity is transient: ‘vanity of vanities! All is vanity!’ (1. 2). The impression of scepticism is enhanced in the English by the translation of ḥebel as ‘vanity’: it is a word for ‘mist’ or ‘steam in a bathroom’, hence transience.

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Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes Old Testament book of aphorisms, compiled under the pseudonym ‘the Preacher, the son of David’. Evidence suggests that the book dates from after the Babylonian Captivity. Its theme is the vanity and emptiness of human life and aspirations, relieved only by faith in God.

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Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes a book of the Bible traditionally attributed to Solomon, consisting largely of reflections on the vanity of human life.

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Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastesatlantes, Cervantes •Ecclesiastes • penates • gentes •Orestes, testes, Thyestes •Achates, Euphrates •diabetes • striptease •pyrites, Stylites, troglodytes •Orontes • Boötes • Procrustes •Harpocrates, Hippocrates, Isocrates, Socrates •litotes • Surtees • Dives

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