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Kohelet

Ecclesiastes

Kohelet: The Earth Versus Humanity

Kohelet, the book of Ecclesiastes, complains about almost everything. The medieval commentator in MS Hamburg 32, however, argues that in his opening discourse, Kohelet is contrasting earth’s permanence with humanity’s transience, presenting the world, if not humanity, in a positive light.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Is Love an Answer to the Meaninglessness of Life?

Ecclesiastes versus Song of Songs

Prof.

​Francis Landy

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Kohelet: An Israelite Form of Meditation

Ecclesiastes is a cynical reflection on life’s futility. The constant sonorous repetition, visualizations, and references to breath serve as a sustained meditation to help free the reader’s soul from the agonizing struggle of life.

Prof. Rabbi

Tzvee Zahavy

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Qohelet and the Redaction of Mesopotamian Vanity Literature

How subversive literature becomes normalized.

Dr.

Nili Samet

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Who Said All Is Futile?

Kohelet begins and ends with the phrase הֲבֵל הֲבָלִים “all is futile” (1:2, 12:8). Rashbam argues that these aren’t the author’s words but an editorial framing, which includes the famous ending that the sum of the matter is to fear God and keep His commandments (12:13). If we remove this framing, the book ends on a very different note.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Qohelet on Pleasure

Qohelet says that simḥah (joy) is the best thing in life, but also that it is profitless and absurd. This essay will explore this fundamental contradiction.

Prof. Rabbi

Michael V. Fox

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