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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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CHAPTER 9: In Conclusion: The Inter-Dependancy of the Prominent Motifs Within the Book of Qohelet 181

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CHAPTER 9 In Conclusion: The Inter-Dependency of the Prominent Motifs Within the Book of Qohelet In the previous eight chapters, I have presented an argument for the essential unity of the book of Qohelet. This has been done both implicitly and explicitly, in the introduction as well as throughout each chapter. While discussions within the realm of higher criticism are both intriguing and valuable, and while a strong argument can be made for the integrity of the book, it is the issue of message that has been of primary concern throughout these eight chapters. As each motif has been surveyed pertaining to content and character, the inter-dependency between ideas argues not for multiple layers of authorship and development, but rather, for a unified message wherein distinct thematic elements coalesce into a complex yet unified message. Any proper and balanced approach taken to the book of Qohelet must therefore consider each prominent motif as equally valid and intentionally critical to the whole message of the book. To elevate any given motif to the exclusion or suppression of others is to warp the theological message of the book. Furthermore, through the misinterpretation of the theological message of Qohelet one also loses the practical message intended by the text—the establishment of a balanced, broad based paradigm for living wisely in a lbh world. The Inter-dependency of lbh to Related Motifs The diagnosis of the problem of lbh is well established throughout the whole book of Qohelet, and touches upon each of the...

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