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Under the Sun

Life and Reality in the Book of Kohelet


Shamai Gelander

This book presents the Book of Ecclesiastes as a single coherent work, whose ideas are consistent and collectively form a comprehensive worldview. Moreover, in contrast to the prevailing view in the research literature – it presents the Book of Ecclesiastes as a work with an essentially positive outlook: Kohelet’s fault-finding is aimed not at the world itself, or how it functions, but at the people who persist in missing out on the present, on what it has to offer, and of the ability to enjoy all that exists and is available. Contrasting with these are Koheleth’s positive perscriptions to make the most of the present. To my mind, his remonstrations are meant to «clear the way» for his positive recommendations – to clear the path, as it were, of the obstacles to accepting reality. These two aspects, the negative and the positive, come together in this investigation into Koheleth’s belief, which is founded on an acceptance of all that God has created.

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