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In this addition to the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms series, Craig Bartholomew combines a careful exegetical reading of the book of Ecclesiastes with keen theological insights. The series is tailored to the distinctives of poetry and Wisdom literature, featuring emphasis on the message of the biblical book; special attention to poetic structure and literary devices; incisive comments based on the author's translation of the Hebrew text; exegetical rigor that incorporates linguistic, historical, and canonical insights; closing reflections on each section that explore the text's theological dimensions; and textual notes that highlight important features of the Hebrew text.

"Elegant and clear in presentation, with masterful control of the history of interpretation, Bartholomew has made a significant contribution to Ecclesiastes studies. He handles all the critical issues with care and insight and has given us a readable and penetrating portrayal of this enigmatic witness. A new standard."--Christopher R. Seitz, professor of biblical interpretation, University of Toronto, Wycliffe College

"Bartholomew provides an exegetically accurate, theologically sensitive, and culturally relevant reading of the enigmatic Qoheleth. For Bartholomew, Ecclesiastes is neither a dusty museum piece confined to ancient history nor an alien treatise limited to a past religious era. Instead, by combining the best historical, linguistic, literary, canonical, theological, and hermeneutical perspectives on this text, Bartholomew treats Ecclesiastes as a dynamic text that speaks powerfully into the (post)modern context of church and culture."--Mark J. Boda, professor of Old Testament, McMaster Divinity College, McMaster University

"It is a rare commentary that is both readable and learned. Even rarer is one that immerses readers in the deep questions of life. Bartholomew's new book helps us to think our way through Ecclesiastes and its mazes. More than that, it confronts us anew with the mystery and responsibility of human existence before the face of God."--Raymond C. Van Leeuwen, professor of biblical studies, Eastern University

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801026911
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/01/2009
Series: Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Craig G. Bartholomew (PhD, University of Bristol) is the H. Evan Runner Professor of Philosophy and professor of religion and theology at Redeemer University College. He is the author of Reading Ecclesiastes: Old Testament Exegesis and Hermeneutical Theory and coauthor of The Drama of Scripture and Living at the Crossroads. He was the founder and convener of the ten-year Scripture and Hermeneutics Project as well as the coeditor of the eight substantial volumes that emerged from the project.

Table of Contents

Series Preface 9

Author's Preface 13

Abbreviations 14

Introduction 17

I Frame Narrative: Prologue (1:1-11) 101

II Qohelet's Exploration of the Meaning of Life (1:12-12:7) 119

A Qohelet's Description of His Journey of Exploration (1:12-18) 121

B Testing Pleasure and the Good Life (2:1-11) 128

C The Problem of Death and One's Legacy (2:12-23) 138

D Eating, Drinking, and Enjoying One's Labor (2:24-26) 149

E The Mystery of Time (3:1-15) 158

F The Problem of Injustice and Death (3:16-22) 175

G Four Problems (4:1-16) 183

H Worship (5:1-7 [4:17-5:6]) 201

I Oppression and Profit (5:8-17 [7-16]) 214

J The Gift of God (5:18-20 [17-19]) 224

K Riches and Wealth Continued (6:1-12) 232

L Knowing What Is Good for One (7:1-13) 244

M Moderation in Wisdom and Folly (7:14-22) 253

N Qohelet's Reflection on His Journey and the Inaccessibility of Wisdom (7:23-29) 263

O The Enigma of Political Rule (8:1-9) 278

P The Problem of Delayed Judgment (8:10-17) 287

Q The Fate of Death and the Gift of Life (9:1-12) 296

R The Example of a City (9:13-18) 312

S Wisdom, Folly, and Rulers (10:1-20) 317

T Living with the Uncertainties of God's Providence (11:1-6) 334

U Rejoicing and Remembering (11:7-12:7) 339

III Frame Narrative: Epilogue (12:8-14) 359

Postscript: Postmodernism, Psychology, Spiritual Formation, and Preaching 375

Bibliography 391

Subject Index 421

Author Index 431

Index of Scripture and Other Ancient Writings 439

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