Ecclesiastes is one of the most fascinating and hauntingly familiar books of the Old Testament. The sentiments of the main speaker of the book, a person given the name Qohelet, sound incredibly modern. Expressing the uncertainty and anxieties of our own age, he is driven by the question, "Where can we find meaning in the world?"
But while Qohelet's question resonates with readers today, his answer is shocking. "Meaningless," says Qohelet, "everything is meaningless." How does this pessimistic perspective fit into the rest of biblical revelation? In this commentary Tremper Longman III addresses this question by taking a canonical-Christocentric approach to the meaning of Ecclesiastes.
Longman first provides an extensive introduction to Ecclesiastes, exploring such background matters as authorship, language, genre, structure, literary style, and the book's theological message. He argues that the author of Ecclesiastes is not Solomon, as has been traditionally thought, but a writer who adopts a Solomonic persona. In the verse-by-verse commentary that follows, Longman helps clarify the confusing, sometimes contradictory message of Ecclesiastes by showing that the book should be divided into three sections a prologue (1:1-11), Qohelet's autobiographical speech (1:12-12:7), and an epilogue (12:8-14) and that the frame narrative provided by prologue and epilogue is the key to understanding the message of the book as a whole.
|Publisher:||Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company|
|Series:||New International Commentary on the Old Testament Series|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.11(d)|
About the Author
Tremper Longman III is Robert H. Gundry Professor ofBiblical Studies and chair of the Religious StudiesDepartment at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California.His other books include Introduction to the OldTestament, How to Read the Psalms,Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind, andLiterary Approaches to Biblical Interpretation.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book reminded me of Goldilocks. It wasn't too big: it doesn't bog you down with too much theological minutiae. It wasn't too small: it didn't leave you wondering how he reached his conclusions. It was just right. This is the best conservative-yet-intelligent commentary I've found on Ecclesiastes.Longman has established himself as the authority on this book, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the subject shows on every page. I meant encyclopedic literally, too. I read this book while preaching it to my congregation. I discovered that the study notes for Ecclesiastes in my Spiritual Reformation Study Bible were written by Longman. When I went to my Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings to clarify a topic, I found that Longman (along with Enns) edited the Dictionary, with Longman himself contributing a number of the articles related to Ecclesiastes.Longman's approach to Ecclesiastes is direct: he lets the Qohelet have his say. Longman strenuously avoids forcing orthodox interpretations onto difficult passages. He also admitted that there is no one view the Qohelet takes. Instead of explaining away discrepancies in viewpoints, he paints a picture of a sage that vacillated in his opinions as he searched out life "under the sun".The interaction between Longman and other interpreters is grace-filled and direct. He respects other people's opinions, but has clearly formed his own on the book. In particular, his constant reference to Fox's volume on Ecclesiastes demonstrates his attention to other works.I highly recommend this volume of NICOT for anyone who wants to understand what that old sage was trying to say!