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Scepticism and Ironic Correlations in the Joy Statements of Qoheleth?


This book is a response to the popular counter-reading of Ecclesiastes in the 1980s and 90s as a book of “joy” (rather than a pessimistic book). It examines the seven “joy statements” of Qoheleth in the light of analogies with scepticism and the literary form of irony. Irony, like scepticism, has the function to induce doubt and questions. The joy statements of Qoheleth are likely analogous to expressions of complex irony—whereby what is said is both meant and not meant. This examination highlights the complexity of the biblical book—while demonstrating how unlikely the “joy reading” may be.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0372-6
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jun 18,2014
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 211
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0372-6
$35.68

Scepticism and Ironic Correlations in the Joy Statements of Qoheleth? is a response to the popular counter-reading of Ecclesiastes in the 1980s and 90s as a book of “joy” (rather than a very pessimistic and depressing book). It examines the seven “joy statements” of Qoheleth in great detail: linguistically, form critically, in immediate and overall context, and in the light of analogies with scepticism and the literary form of irony. Irony, like scepticism, has the function to induce doubt and questions. While the reading of the joy statements of Qoheleth appear indeterminate in Anderson’s book, they are likely analogous to expressions of complex irony (aka Socratic Irony)—whereby what is said is both meant and not meant. This close examination of the “joy statement” of Qoheleth highlights the conceptual and literary complexity of the biblical book—while demonstrating just how unlikely the “joy reading” may well be. Consequently Qoheleth still leaves the reader guessing about the meaning of life.

Scepticism and Ironic Correlations in the Joy Statements of Qoheleth? is a response to the popular counter-reading of Ecclesiastes in the 1980s and 90s as a book of “joy” (rather than a very pessimistic and depressing book). It examines the seven “joy statements” of Qoheleth in great detail: linguistically, form critically, in immediate and overall context, and in the light of analogies with scepticism and the literary form of irony. Irony, like scepticism, has the function to induce doubt and questions. While the reading of the joy statements of Qoheleth appear indeterminate in Anderson’s book, they are likely analogous to expressions of complex irony (aka Socratic Irony)—whereby what is said is both meant and not meant. This close examination of the “joy statement” of Qoheleth highlights the conceptual and literary complexity of the biblical book—while demonstrating just how unlikely the “joy reading” may well be. Consequently Qoheleth still leaves the reader guessing about the meaning of life.

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Contributor Biography

William Anderson

Bill Anderson is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Concordia University College of Alberta. He earned a PhD in Biblical Studies and Theology from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He is most famous for Martin Scorsese’s reading and positive response to his article “David as a Biblical ‘Goodfella’ and ‘The Godfather”: Cultural-Social Analogies with Monarchy and La Cosa Nostra” in the Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament. Bill is also a local TV celebrity in the area of Religion and Pop Culture.

  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Abstract (page 11)
  • Preface (page 13)
  • Acknowledgements (page 15)
  • Abbreviations (page 17)
  • Introduction (page 19)
  • 1 Exegesis of the Joy Statements (page 23)
    • 1.1 Qoheleth 2.24-25 (page 23)
    • 1.2 Qoheleth 3.12-13 (page 28)
    • 1.3 Qoheleth 3.22 (page 30)
    • 1.4 Qoheleth 5.17-19 (page 32)
    • 1.5 Qoheleth 8.15 (page 37)
    • 1.6 Qoheleth 9.7-9 (page 39)
    • 1.7 Qoheleth 11.8-9 (page 44)
    • 1.8 Translation of the Joy Statements Based on Exegesis and Conclusions (page 49)
  • 2 Form Criticism of the Joy Statements and Additional Exegetical Notes (page 51)
    • 2.1 Qoheleth 2.24-25 (page 53)
      • 2.1.1 The Overall Context of the Pericope 1.12-2.26 (page 53)
      • 2.1.2 The Immediate Context 2.17-26 (page 55)
    • 2.2 Qoheleth 3.12-13 (page 57)
      • 2.2.1 The Overall Context of the Pericope 3.1-15 (page 57)
      • 2.2.2 The Immediate Context 3.9-15 (page 60)
    • 2.3 Qoheleth 3.22 (page 62)
      • 2.3.1 The Overall Context of the Pericope 3.15-22 (page 63)
      • 2.3.2 The Immediate Context 3.18-22 (page 63)
    • 2.4 Qoheleth 5.17-19 (page 66)
      • 2.4.1 The Overall Context of the Pericope 5.7-6.9 (page 66)
      • 2.4.2 The Immediate Context 5.15-6.2 (page 71)
    • 2.5 Qoheleth 8.15 (page 72)
      • 2.5.1 The Overall Context of the Pericope 8.1-10.20 (page 73)
      • 2.5.2 The Immediate Context 8.10-17 (page 76)
    • 2.6 Qoheleth 9.7-9 (page 77)
      • 2.6.1 The Overall Context of the Pericope 9.1-12 (page 78)
      • 2.6.2 The Immediate Context 9.7-10 (page 82)
    • 2.7 Qoheleth 11.8-9 (page 84)
      • 2.7.1 The Overall Context of the Pericope 11.7-12.7 (page 84)
      • 2.7.2 The Immediate Context 11.8-9 (page 87)
    • 2.8 Conclusions from the Form Critical Analysis of the Joy Statements (page 88)
  • 3 What is Scepticism and Can it be Found in the Hebrew Bible? (page 91)
    • 3.1 An Overview of Scepticism (page 92)
      • 3.1.1 A Synoptic Overview of Scepticism (page 92)
      • 3.1.2 The Working Presupposition and Methodology ofScepticism (page 95)
      • 3.1.3 A Working Definition of Scepticism (page 100)
    • 3.2 Critical Assessment of Scepticism (page 100)
    • 3.3 A Sceptical Tradition in the Hebrew Bible? (page 107)
      • 3.3.1 General Views of a Sceptical Tradition in the HebrewBible (page 108)
      • 3.3.2 Dell on Job as Sceptical Literature (page 114)
    • 3.4 Critical Assessment of the View There is a Sceptical Tradition in the Hebrew Bible (page 120)
      • 3.4.1 General Views of a Sceptical Tradition in the HebrewBible (page 120)
      • 3.4.2 Dell on Job as Sceptical Literature (page 123)
    • 3.5 Conclusions Regarding Scepticism and a Sceptical Tradition in the Hebrew Bible (page 126)
  • 4 Interpretation of the Joy Statements (page 129)
    • 4.1 The Joy Statements as Editorial Glosses (page 129)
    • 4.2 The Joy Statements as Indicative Carpe Diem (page 130)
    • 4.3 The Joy Statements as Providing an Essential Message of Joy in the Book of Qoheleth (page 131)
      • 4.3.1 General Views of the Joy Message (page 131)
      • 4.3.2 Ogden on Qoheleths Essential Message of Joy (page 136)
    • 4.4 Critical Assessment of the Interpretations of the Joy Statements (page 140)
      • 4.4.1 The Editorial Gloss Interpretation (page 140)
      • 4.4.2 The Indicative Carpe Diem Interpretation (page 143)
      • 4.4.3 The Essential Message of Joy Interpretation (page 143)
        • 4.4.3.1 General Views of the Joy Message (page 143)
        • 4.4.3.2 Ogden on Qoheleths Essential Message of Joy (page 149)
    • 4.5 Conclusions Regarding the Interpretations of the JoyStatements (page 153)
  • 5 Ironic Correlations and Scepticism in the Joy Statements? (page 155)
    • 5.1 Ironic Correlations to Gattungen and Scepticism (page 155)
      • 5.1.1 Irony in Historical and Philosophical Context (page 156)
      • 5.1.2 The Role of Context in Interpreting Irony (page 160)
      • 5.1.3 Correlations Between Irony and Gattungen (page 165)
      • 5.1.4 Are Irony and Scepticism Compatible? (page 170)
      • 5.1.5 The Essential Elements and Definition of Irony (page 173)
    • 5.2 Critical Assessment of Ironic Correlations and Scepticism (page 174)
    • 5.3 Possible Ironic Interpretations of the Joy Statements (page 179)
      • 5.3.1 Common Elements of the Joy Statements (page 179)
      • 5.3.2 Questions on Some Possible Correlations BetweenIrony, Qoheleth and the Joy Statements (page 179)
      • 5.3.3 Some Ironic Commentaries on Qoheleth (page 182)
      • 5.3.4 Critical Assessment of the Ironic Commentaries (page 186)
      • 5.3.5 Ironic Interpretations (Gattungen) of the JoyStatements (page 189)
    • 5.4 Critical Assessment of Ironic Correlations and Scepticism in the Joy Statements (page 191)
    • 5.5 Conclusions Regarding Ironic Correlations and Scepticism in the Joy Statements (page 192)
  • Conclusion (page 195)
  • Bibliography (page 199)
    • 1. Biblical Criticism, Textual and Linguistics (page 199)
    • 2. Wisdom and Comparative Literature (page 201)
    • 3. Qoheleth Studies (page 203)
    • 4. Commentaries on Qoheleth (page 206)
    • 5. Scepticism, Irony and Miscellaneous (page 207)
  • Index (page 209)
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