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Ecclesiastes Through the Centuries / Edition 1

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Overview

Over the centuries, Ecclesiastes has influenced numerous and diverse aspects of life and thought. Ecclesiastes Through the Centuries assesses the effects of the book on the culture of the various times in religious, artistic, and social contexts.

  • Presents an innovative, reception history approach to the study of Ecclesiastes, by tracing its influence on religion, culture, literature, art, and social thought
  • Explores a fascinating range of Jewish and Christian readings
  • Features engaging and unusual examples from art, music, literature and history: from Thackeray and Orwell, to Salvador Dali’s Illustrated Bible, to the inflammatory exposition of Ecclesiastes at the funeral of Queen Mary
  • Published in the innovative Blackwell Bible Commentaries series; for further information visit the series website at www.bbibcomm.net
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Christianson's study of Ecclesiastes's cultural impact is rich and rewarding. [He] beautifully exposits the material that he treats, and suggests by brief reference some other avenues of fruitful exploration. In these ways, Ecclesiastes Through the Centuries serves both as an excellent treatment of the title theme and a good model for other reception histories to follow. The book may be heartily recommended, without reservation." (Bible and Critical Theory)

"A fundamental resource on biblical interpretation, especially in the modern world, this book is a winner." (International Review of Biblical Studies)

"The introduction and commentary proper cover many topics, from patristic and rabbinic exegesis through to modern science-fiction, with numerous stops on the way.... Very well written and accessible ... an excellent book." (Society for Old Testament Study Book List)

"Students of Ecclesiastes have been waiting a good many years for a book like Eric Christianson's study … Not since the time of Christian David Ginsburg's magisterial commentary Coheleth (commonly called the Book of Ecclesiastes) in 1861 has there been such a thorough survey of the reception history of Ecclesiastes." (Lutheran Theological Journal)

"With the text's many difficult and provocative passages, the reception history of Ecclesiastes is always going to be more interesting than that of many biblical books, and in this erudite but entertaining commentary, Christianson takes full advantage of the rich materials at his disposal.... The introduction and commentary proper cover many topics, from patristic and rabbinic exegesis through to modern science-fiction, with numerous stops on the way.... Christianson is a genial guide throughout, and his own enthusiasm is clear; the book is very well written and accessible, moreover, so that it should appeal to both specialists and a wider public.... Overall an excellent book." (Society for Old Testament Study Book List)

"A fundamental resource on biblical interpretation, especially in the modern world, this book is a winner." (International Review of Biblical Studies)

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Eric S. Christianson is Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Chester. He is author of A Time to Tell: Narrative Strategies in Ecclesiastes (1988) and co-editor of Cinéma Divinité: Religion, Theology and the Bible in Film (2005). He is co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Popular Culture at the University of Chester and maintains the website for the Blackwell Bible Commentary Series (http://bbibcomm.net).

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Table of Contents

Series Editors’ Preface.

Preface.

Testimonia.

Introduction.

A History of Reception Histories.

Reading Strategies and Lines of Influence.

Pre-Modern Reading: –1500.

Early Modern Reading: 1500–1800.

Modern Reading: 1800–.

Ecclesiastes 1.

The Life and Death of Solomon the Author: 1:1 et passim.

Vanitas vanitatum: 1:2 et passim.

The Overture Played Out: 1:3–18.

Ecclesiastes 2.

Wrestling with the Test of Pleasure: 2:1–10.

Understanding Wisdom, Folly and God’s Gifts: 2:11–24.

Ecclesiastes 3:1–8.

The Totality of Times.

Ecclesiastes 3:9–6:12.

On Fate, Knowledge and Anthropology: 3:9–22.

On Oppression and the Value of Companionship: 4:1–12.

On Conducting Oneself in the House of God: 5:1–8.

On the Possibility of Profit and Relief from hebel: 5:10–6:12.

Ecclesiastes 7–8.

The Curious Values of Wisdom: 7:1–12.

The Incongruity of Experience and the Inaccessibility of Wisdom: 7:13–29.

About Wisdom, Power and Authority: 8:1–17.

Ecclesiastes 9:1–12.

The Wisdom of Death and Life.

Ecclesiastes 9:13–11:10.

Wise Conduct in the Light of Uncertainty: 9:13–11:6.

The Final Call to Joy: 11:7–10.

Ecclesiastes 12:1–7.

The Rule of Allegory.

Beyond Allegory.

Ecclesiastes 12:8–14.

The Final Word.

A Hermeneutical Postscript.

Understanding the Pervasive Appeal of Qoheleth.

The Exegetical ‘Fidelity’ of Ecclesiastes’ Reception History.

How Might This Reception History Inform the Discipline?.

Bibliography.

Primary Sources.

Reception Histories of Ecclesiastes.

Specialist Comparative Studies.

Ecclesiastes General Secondary Sources.

Other Secondary Sources.

Appendix—The Quotable Qoheleth: Ecclesiastes in Popular Discourse.

List of Illustrations.

Acknowledgements.

Name Index.

Subject Index

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