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Title: 'Chasing after the wind?' : an examination of the social and historical background of the Book of Ecclesiastes
Author: Grant, C. A.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis is written as a response to a movement within contemporary scholarship that has tried to date Qoheleth to the Persian period rather than to the more generally-accepted Ptolemaic period. In Part 1 of the thesis I examine the arguments that have been put forward in favour of a Persian date. I look at five areas which provide evidence for dating Qoheleth. These are: Qoheleth's place in the Israelite wisdom tradition; literary parallels between Qoheleth and other Ancient Near Eastern and Greek texts; linguistic characteristics of Qoheleth; the political history of the time; and the archaeological data which derives from the period in which Qoheleth is said to have been written. Having examined each of these areas, I conclude that the commonly-held date of the third century B.C.E. remains the most likely setting for the text. Part 2 of the thesis then seeks to appropriate methodological insights gained from studies that have argued for a Persian date and apply these insights to the Ptolemaic period. In particular, I try to build on recent studies that have looked at Qoheleth from a socio-economic perspective. I concentrate on those passages in Qoheleth that address aspects of public life. I look at Qoheleth's remarks about the King, Government Administration and Bureaucracy, the Judicial System, the Temple, and the Social Hierarchy, in order to assess the manner in which his remarks were influenced by contemporary circumstance and events. The thesis concludes by arguing that Qoheleth wrote as one who was critically engaged with his society, commenting on many aspects of its life and governance, and did so to an extent that has not fully recognised by previous studies on the book.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available