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Ecclesiastes

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The Ecclesiastes, or ?Qohelet? in Hebrew, is a text of the Hebrew Bible whose content, including some reflexions and maxims about the human existence, is unique in the Hebrew Bible and has left many scholars perplex. Most authors agree that it belongs to the Wisdom literature but it is clearly not a conventional wisdom text and raises a genre issue. Indeed, its style is very elusive, with a combination of sceptic maxims about wisdom and affirmation of the small joys of life, and it focuses especially on humanity, while other wisdom texts such as Proverbs concerns the relation with God.

Moreover, the Ecclesiastes raises an historical issue; the English translation for Qohelet is ?preacher? or with more precision ?the one who talks in front of an assembly? and if this preacher has for long been considered as Solomon, scholars now agree that this assumption was wrong. The Ecclesiastes is a much later work, even so it is still difficult to date with precision and there is still a debate concerning the unity of the text.

As a result, it is a complex text and the reader can easily be misled in reading it in a superficial way and it is important to use some proper method to interpret it. We will first use source criticism and historical criticism to know when and by whom the text was written, in order to understand the context in which he was produced (I). Then, we will use form criticism and literary criticism to find out the theological and literary meaning of the text (II).

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