Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Ecclesiastes

Author: Gladson, Jerry
Year:2016
Pages:784
ISBN:1-4955-0429-8
978-1-4955-0429-7
Price:349.95
This is a comprehensive study of Ecclesiastes in commentary form that explores all aspects of the book and its interpretations, ancient and modern.
It explores Ecclesiastes in the light of contemporary Judeo-Christian historical, theological, and biblical scholarship, with special attention to the role of Ecclesiastes among the Megilloth, the Five (biblical) Scrolls liturgically read at five important festivals in the Jewish community.

Reviews

“This commentary is conservative in the best sense of the word. Gladson pays close attention to grammar and syntax, poetic art, and theological nuance. His judgments are both judicious and fair, his treatment of those who hold views different from his own, generous.”
-James L. Crenshaw,
Robert L. Flowers Emeritus Professor of Old Testament,
Duke University


“The very thoroughness of Dr. Gladson’s commentary will establish him as one of the finest expositors on wisdom literature in the field today. His background of over forty years of university and divinity school teaching as well as his pastoral experience, often concurrent with his teaching, reveals his concern that his readers need to appreciate serious study. This commentary is not just a history of criticism, as thorough as that is here. It is also passionate about providing the tools for application, and the insights that suggest the book’s value for today.”
-Dr. Edwin Zackrison,
Theology and Ministry,
Ringgold,GA


“While engaging the vast scholarly conversations on Ecclesiastes by Crenshaw, Perdue, Zimmerman, Bruegemann, O’Conner, Collins, Harrelson, Pfeiffer, Childs, Seow, Isaksson, Lohflink, Muilenberg and Cross, Jerry Gladson’s fresh contribution is to set a coloratura staging for meaningful and fresh commentary on the text itself. Forthrightly confronting the historical and critical challenges of Ecclesiastes, his work appreciates the philosophical “Conflict between belief and unbelief which is common in every age.” Unlike the message of the prophets and the Psalms, Gladson fruitfully deals with the timeless proclamation of Ecclesiastes which portrays a “theology from beneath,” where, in the view of the “Teacher of Wisdom,” God seems not to be intimately involved in human affairs, remote and at a distance. Taking from this existential reality, when we can find it, our “portion of Joy” is made into a form of song.”
Dr. Roger A. Sizemore,
Former President of Phillips Theological Seminary


Table of Contents

Foreword by James L. Crenshaw
Preface / Acknowledgements / Abbreviations
PART I: GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES
QOHELETH’S DOOR
Title
The Author of Ecclesiastes
Traditional View of Authorship
Modern Historical View of Authorship
THE SETTING OF ECCLESIASTES
The Postexilic Era
The Achaemenid Era (550-330 BCE)
The Hellenistic Era
When was Ecclesiastes Written?
The Language of Ecclesiastes
Lexicography
Orthography and Morphology
Syntax
Influence of Other Languages
Linguistic Indications of Provenance
The Place of Writing
ECCLESIASTES AND ANCIENT WISDOM
Ecclesiastes and Hebrew Wisdom
Ecclesiastes and Ancient Near Eastern Wisdom
Ecclesiastes and Greek Influence
LITERARY FORM AND STRUCTURE
Integrity of the Book
The Genre of Ecclesiastes
Genres and Rhetorical Style
Structure
THE TEXT OF ECCLESIASTES
The Hebrew Text
The Septuagint (LXX)
The Latin Text
The Syriac Peshitta
The Aramaic Targum
THE CANONICITY OF ECCLESIASTES
THE HISTORY OF INTERPRETATION
Early Readings (c. 250 BCE – 200 CE)
Postmodern Reading (c. 200-1500 CE)
Jewish Readings
Early Modern Readings (1500-1800)
Modern Readings (1800-Present)
Contemporary Issues in Interpretation
PART II: COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES
THE PROLOGUE (1:1-11)
The Superscription (1:1)
Theme Statement (1:2-3)
Additional Note on (hevel)
Nothing New Under the Sun (1:4-11)
Additional Note on “Under the Sun”
QOHELETH’S REFLECTIONS (1:12-12:7)
Qoheleth’s Autobiographical Narrative (1:12-2:26)
The Futility of Wisdom (1:12-18)
Reflection on Pleasure and Success (2:1-11)
The value of Wisdom and Folly (2;12-17)
The Fate of Human Toil (2:18-26)
A Time for Everything (3;1-15)
A Litany of Right Times (3;1-8)
Discerning the Times (3:9-15)
Is There Any Justice? (3:16-22)
Oppression and Toil (4:1-6)
Friendship, Solitude, and Popularity (4:7-16)
Religious Obligations (4:17-5:6)
Power, Wealth, and Injustice (5:7-6:9 [Eng 5:8-6:9]
On Divine Causality and Human Impotence (6:10-12)
A Collection of Proverbs (7:1-14)
On Moderation (7:15-22)
The Search for Wisdom 7:23-29)
Rulers and Those in Authority (8:1-9)
Divine Activity is Inscrutable (8:10-17)
The Universal Fate of All (9:1-12)
Wisdom Squandered (9:13-16)
A Collection of Proverbs (9:17-10:20)
Living in the Face of Uncertainty (11:1-6)
Instruction for Youth and Old Age (11:78-12:8)
THE EPILOGUE (12:9-14)
Epilogue and Concluding Note (12:9-14)
Additional Note on the Epilogue (12:9-14)
PART III: THE LEGACY OF ECCLESIASTES
THE THEOLOGY OF ECCLESIASTES
Divine Inscrutability
The Elusiveness of Meaning
The Frustration of Human Experience
The Finality of Death
Enjoyment in Life
ECCLESIASTES IN LITURGY AND THE ARTS
Ecclesiastes in Liturgy
Jewish Liturgy
Christian Liturgy
Ecclesiastes in Western Culture and the Arts
Literature
Art
Music
Cinema
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Primary Texts, Translations, and Lexical Works
Commentaries on Ecclesiastes
General and Special Studies on Ecclesiastes
Author and Subject Index