A Reason for Being: A Meditation on Ecclesiastes

Overview

On the heels of many provocative works comes yet another from the prolific pen of French scholar Jacques Ellul. In reason for being Ellul offers an exposition of the three intertwining themes of Ecclesiastes: vanity, wisdom, and God. While interacting with recent scholarship, Ellul presents a unique interpretation and contemporary application of "the profound and paradoxical Qohelet."

Examining specific passages in his development of the three general themes, Ellul considers ...

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Overview

On the heels of many provocative works comes yet another from the prolific pen of French scholar Jacques Ellul. In reason for being Ellul offers an exposition of the three intertwining themes of Ecclesiastes: vanity, wisdom, and God. While interacting with recent scholarship, Ellul presents a unique interpretation and contemporary application of "the profound and paradoxical Qohelet."

Examining specific passages in his development of the three general themes, Ellul considers theological, philosophical, and literary aspects of the text and asserts his own opinion on the book's place in Scripture and the gospel. Ellul's treatment of the book's irony and paradoxes, an often problematic matter which he sees as the key to understanding Ecclesiastes, sheds valuable light on the book as well as on life itself.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Ellul, a noted French Christian activist, provides a meditation on a biblical book that he has studied for many years. Although he is the author of more than 40 books and has written two more books since The Reason for Being , Ellul says that this book is the conclusion to his lifework. Ellul is sensitive to Ecclesiastes's ambiguity and irony as he discusses the themes of vanity, wisdom, and God, and the ritual context (the Feast of Sukkot) that he finds central to the book. Ellul successfully clarifies the book's relevance for contemporary society clear. Highly recommended for seminary, academic, and large public libraries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802804051
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 11/28/1990
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Table of Contents

I Preliminary, Polemical, Nondefinitive Postscript 1
My Purpose in This Book 1
The Ultimate Paradox: Another Book on Ecclesiastes 4
Presuppositions in Studies of Ecclesiastes 6
Critical Agreement and Pseudonymity in Ecclesiastes 16
Wisdom and Poetry 22
Philosophy, Truth, and Reality in Qohelet 26
Qohelet as Ritual Incantation 31
Structure in Qohelet 33
Contradiction as an Essential Principle of Qohelet 39
Qohelet and the Feast of Sukkot 42
II Themes of Vanity: Vapor, Smoke, Unsubstantiality, Fragility, and Evanescence 49
The First Word 49
The Myth of Progress 60
Meditation 69
Power 75
Money 86
Work 93
Happiness 106
The Good 112
Human Answers 115
Conclusion 126
III Wisdom and Philosophy 128
Wisdom: What Is It? 133
Irony 141
Fragility and Impossibility 146
Science 151
The Wisdom of Small Things 158
Finiteness and the Future 160
Finiteness and Death 171
Tests for Wisdom: Applications and Examples 185
The Word 186
Possessions 190
Women and Men 195
Conclusion 204
Epilogue 207
IV God 213
Elohim 214
Contradiction 231
The God Who Gives 249
God's Gifts: Quest and Desire for Eternity 253
God's Gift of Enjoyment 255
God as Judge 263
Approaching God 271
Qohelet's Crowning Words 278
Bibliography 304
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