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Qoheleth. By Thomas Kruger (Fortress, $52). This commentary in the Hermeneia Series takes its place as the best of current commentaries on Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth. There are highly competent discussions in the introduction about Qoheleth's themes and organization (or lack of it) and the genres therein contained. The book is found to be coherent if one takes into account its discursive character and considers the possibility of an ironic playing around with traditional genres and themes. Qoheleth was probably written at the end of the third century B.C.E. and polemicizes against an understanding of wisdom as the guarantee of a long, successful, and happy life. Experience taught Qoheleth that wisdom is by no means as easy to find as Proverbs 1-9 and Sirach assert. Qoheleth criticizes hopes for a continued existence of the individual after death. The temple is needed not for the atonement of guilt (5:5 Why should the Deity become angry over your speech?) but for the cultivation and transmission of religious traditions (4:17 draw near in order to hear and not in order to make a sacrificial offering). Qoheleth can serve as an example of an intellectually honest treatment of cultural and religious traditions that is itself not above criticism. K. raises the possibility that the epilogue in 12:9-14 is the book's original literary conclusion. These words make clear that the critical wisdom expressed in this biblical book is also self-critical. The bibliography in this commentary runs to 55 pages! RWK
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Author:Klein, Ralph W.
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Date:Jun 1, 2007
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