Who wrote the book of 1st Thessalonians
Preacher / Kohelet
Like that of Proverbs, the book of Kohelet was ascribed to King Solomon, although apart from the "Son of David" as the author's statement in 1.1 and various allusions (cf. 1.12 + 16) there is no reference to such an authorship. The writer is 1.1 as קֹהֶלֶת, qohœlœt (= Meeting leader) denotes what M. Luther translated as "preacher". The Greek translation contains the translation ἐκκλησιαστής, which is also used as the name of the book, ekklēsiastēs. The book of Kohelet belongs to the five megillots; it is the fixed role for the Feast of Tabernacles, in which the joy of life and the Torah are expressed as right instruction. This joie de vivre also speaks from important passages of the preacher book.
Time of origin
The 4th or 3rd century BC must be assumed as the time of origin of the book. This is indicated by the language, but on the other hand by the special subject matter, which is comparable to that of the Book of Job. Here, too, the crisis of conventional wisdom is reflected, the meaning of which is no longer evident (cf. the chapter "Theodicy").
The book can hardly be structured in a meaningful way, as it consists of many loosely lined up individual pieces, in which principles of order or progress in thought are no longer clearly recognizable today. To make matters worse, opposing positions are often quoted, so that it is not always clear what the preacher's own opinion is. It is possible that the repeated formulas "everything is vain, chasing after the wind" served to separate individual groups of arguments. However, it is important to have read the book in full and to be able to remember key chapters.
In chapters 1 + 2 it becomes clear that the author was trained in conventional wisdom, but that everything has become vain or void for him after his own thought. Because: "the wise dies like the fool" (2.16). The word lebeh, hæbæl, usually translated as "vain, vain" means a breath of wind or a breath; it symbolizes impermanence (cf. also the name "Abel" (Gen 4) formed from the same word root. God does exist, and the preacher does not doubt his omnipotence (3.14), but "everything has its time "(3,1-8), is inaccessible to man. This knowledge leads to resignation, not, as with Job, to rebellion against the inaccessible nature of God. Man cannot see through God's action, he can only submit to him and try to make the best for oneself out of what God has given: "Then I noticed that there is nothing better among them than to be happy and have it good in life" (3:12) but the preacher to reverence for God (4,17-5,6), not to an unrestrained hedonism.
A special motif of the book is the death theme. The preacher assumes that death is the final end of life, the fleeting days of existence on earth should be enjoyed (9: 7-10). A resurrection hope does not seem to be known to the author (yet). In 11.9–12.7 young people are called to enjoy life as a good gift from God in their youth; the complaints of aging are portrayed allegorically: "The guards of the house (= the legs) tremble", "the almond tree (= the white hair) is in bloom".
Ecclesiastes 12: 9-11; 12,12-14 adds wisdom sentences in two epilogues, of which 12,12 enjoys a certain popularity with students. It is possible that the book was included in the canon only because of these addenda. Its main text lacks almost all references to the classical theological tradition of Israel; the absence of the Torah theme is particularly noticeable.
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Electronic Bible Studies
The texts on this page are taken from:
Rösel, Martin: Biblical studies of the Old Testament. The canonical and apocryphal scriptures. With learning overviews by Dirk Schwiderski, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 10., veränd. Edition 2018.
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