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Title: Singing at the winepress : Ecclesiastes and the ethics of work
Author: Atkinson, Tyler Scott
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 765X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis seeks to locate an ethic of work in the thought world presented by the book of Ecclesiastes. It proceeds first by exposing the lack in extended theological-ethical considerations of Ecclesiastes in both biblical studies and theological ethics, proposing modestly to make a start in filling this lack by exploring Qoheleth’s work ethic. In the first chapter, six topics pertinent for a theological-ethical consideration of Ecclesiastes are introduced: the significance of the figure of Solomon; the meaning of hevel (traditionally rendered, ‘vanity’); perception and epistemology; cult, economy and politics; time; and the socalled carpe diem refrain. The chapter closes by enlisting two figures, St. Bonaventure and Martin Luther, for assistance in further exploring these topics. In Chapter 2, Bonaventure’s Commentary on Ecclesiastes is encountered. Reading Ecclesiastes within a penitential framework, Bonaventure offers a version of the contemptus mundi tradition rooted in his metaphysics of emanation, exemplarity and consummation. Bonaventure’s commentary is ethically significant in that he detects the vice of curiositas as precipitating the fall from the vanitas mutabilitatis to the vanity of sin and guilt. Chapter 3 considers Luther’s ‘Notes on Ecclesiastes.’ Luther interprets Solomon as a wise economic-political administrator who preaches the good news of God’s involvement in the quotidian. This positive understanding of the character of Solomon enables Luther to read Ecclesiastes eschatologically, with labour being seen as a locus of divine activity. The upshot is that one may read Solomon’s refrain as an invitation to labour with the expectation of receiving God’s gifts in the present. The fourth and final chapter is the constructive portion of this thesis. It draws upon the previous chapters in order to make positive claims about Qoheleth’s work ethic. In sum, Ecclesiastes enhances conversations surrounding the theology and ethics of work by working protology and eschatology through christology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Work ethic