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By Mark R. Sneed

Students try to unravel the matter of the publication of Ecclesiastes heterodox personality in a single of 2 methods, both explaining away the e-book s traumatic characteristics or radicalizing and championing it as a precursor of contemporary existentialism. This quantity deals an interpretation of Ecclesiastes that either recognizes the unorthodox nature of Qoheleth's phrases and money owed for its attractiveness one of the canonical books of the Hebrew Bible. It argues that, rather than being the main secular and glossy of biblical books, Ecclesiastes may be probably the most non secular and primitive. Bringing a Weberian method of Ecclesiastes, it represents a paradigm of the appliance of a social-science method.

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Extra resources for The Politics of Pessimism in Ecclesiastes: A Social-Science Perspective

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It does, however, mean that he is disturbed by the actions of the Ptolemies and/or their Jewish collaborators in their governing of his country. Qohelet’s frustration does not appear to be based on this alone but rather on the fact that persons who seem to be undeserving, according to traditional understanding, are enjoying prosperity (cf. 7:15; 8:14). This clash between social reality and Jewish expectations seems 82. S. F. 4 (1929): 1–27. For a discussion of the topsy-turvy motif in Proverbs, see Raymond C.

That is, to Ptolemaic Palestine” (The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985], 580). However, in 1996, C. L. Seow challenged the consensus by arguing for a date in the Persian period with a linguistic argument (“Linguistic Evidence and the Dating of Qohelet,” JBL 115 [1996]: 643–66). He notes the high number of Aramaisms, two Persian loanwords, and no Grecisms in the book. But his most significant piece of evidence is that the specific sense of ‫ שׁלט‬in Qohelet is technical and was current only for the Persian period and not later.

Van Leeuwen also fails to realize how tenaciously religious adherents hold to their beliefs even in the face of contradictory evidence. The social-psychological theory of cognitive dissonance demonstrates this tenacity and the creativity 23. Max Weber, “The Social Psychology of the World Religions,” in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (trans. and ed. H. H. Gerth and C. ; New York: Oxford University Press, 1958), 280. 24. Van Leeuwen, “Wealth and Poverty,” 25–36. 25. , 30. 26. , 31. 27 Religious persons are usually resistant to changing their beliefs, and they will ordinarily do many other things (mental acrobatics or rationalization) before they will change a belief.

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