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An Analysis of the Inter-Dependency of the Prominent Motifs Within the Book of Qohelet

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Richard Alan Jr. Fuhr

The key to a balanced and accurate understanding of the book of Ecclesiastes lies in the inter-dependent relationships between the prominent motifs within the book. An Analysis of the Inter-Dependency of the Prominent Motifs Within the Book of Qohelet explores this dynamic. The final outcome of such an approach is a wisdom-based paradigm for living «under the sun», a wise man’s approach to living in a fallen world. Qohelet’s conclusions are two-fold and balanced. First, in light of the fact that life is fleeting, death is inevitable, and one’s future lies outside of the realm of human control, the wise will enjoy life as a gift from God, recognizing that joy is ultimately a responsibility and a mandate placed upon them. Second, in light of the fact that life is fleeting, death is inevitable, and God’s enigmatic ways on earth are sure to be followed by an equitable future judgment, the wise will fear God and keep his commandments. Therefore, the wise man or woman will enjoy life but not enjoy sin, living each day to its fullest but in sobriety, knowing that for all our actions there is a coming judgment. This is the wisdom of Ecclesiastes.

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:HebrewDD.qxd 10/18/2012 11:49 AM Page 1 An Analysis OF THE Inter-Dependency OF THE Prominent Motifs Within THE Book OF Qohelet RICHARD ALAN FUHR JR . Studies in Biblical Literature 151 151 A n A nalysis of the Inter-D epend ency of the Prom inent M otifs W ithin the B ook of Q ohelet F U H R The key to a balanced and accurate understanding of the book of Eccle- siastes lies in the inter-dependent relationships between the prominent motifs within the book. An Analysis of the Inter-Dependency of the Promi- nent Motifs Within the Book of Qohelet explores this dynamic. The final out- come of such an approach is a wisdom-based paradigm for living “under the sun,” a wise man’s approach to living in a fallen world. Qohelet’s con- clusions are two-fold and balanced. First, in light of the fact that life is fleet- ing, death is inevitable, and one’s future lies outside of the realm of human control, the wise will enjoy life as a gift from God, recognizing that joy is ultimately a responsibility and a mandate placed upon them. Second, in light of the fact that life is fleeting, death is inevitable, and God’s enigmatic ways on earth are sure to be followed by an equitable future judgment, the wise will fear God and keep his commandments. There- fore, the wise man or woman will enjoy life but not enjoy sin, living each day to its fullest but in sobriety, knowing that for all our...

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