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Title: Time in the book of Qohelet
Author: Bundvad, Mette
ISNI:       0000 0004 1673 6821
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores the theme of time in the book of Qohelet. Throughout his work Qohelet depicts the temporal reality as intensely problematic for human attempts to fashion a meaningful existence, even in the present. A tension is established in the book between the temporal realities of the world and human time-experience. This tension becomes especially apparent in relation to the field of human cognition: our ability to understand and respond properly to our temporal conditions is drawn fundamentally into doubt by Qohelet. The lacking correspondence between temporal reality and human experience of time affects every temporal area in our existence. Qohelet does not allow the human being any meaningful access to either past or future because of the reality of oblivion. Unable to appeal to a meaningful human continuity, individual human beings are unable to make sense of their present existence too. In addition to analysing Qohelet’s conception of time, the thesis investigates the consequences which this time-conception has for the author’s own philosophical endeavour. Significantly, Qohelet aims to describe an area of reality which he considers fundamentally inaccessible to the human mind. This results in an ongoing tension between statements of knowledge and statements of ignorance; between wanting to investigate human life in time and being unable to do so. This dichotomy is especially apparent in Qohelet’s discussion of the lost temporal horizons of past and future. Past and future cannot be approached directly, but must either be discussed through an examination of their influence on the present or established negatively, simply by stating their inaccessibility. Qohelet’s three main narrative texts demonstrate this particularly clearly. A final chapter uses the analysis of Qohelet’s time conception to undertake a comparative analysis of Qohelet and early layers of 1 Enoch.
Supervisor: Barton, John Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Theology and Religion ; Biblical studies ; Ecclesiastes ; time in Ecclesiastes ; time in the Hebrew Bible ; time in 1 Enoch