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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Time in the Book of Ecclesiastes
Bundvad, Mette

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015 pp. 240. $110.00

Series Information
Oxford Theology and Religion Monographs


Description: Time in the Book of Ecclesiastes offers a detailed analysis of the theme of time in Ecclesiastes. The book of Ecclesiastes engages at length with this theme and presents a sophisticated exploration of humanity's temporal situation. Ecclesiastes depicts the temporal reality as extremely problematic for human attempts to live meaningfully. This is especially due to the tension which the book's narrator perceives between the cosmic, temporal reality and the human experience of time. Consequently, humanity's cognitive engagement with time becomes a particular focus in his exploration of life under the sun. Time is not only a central theme in Ecclesiastes; it is also a theme which provides this difficult book with a degree of coherence and renders meaningful some of the passages which otherwise seem contradictory. Furthermore, the explicit exploration in Ecclesiastes of the theme of time provides an excellent entry-point into the broader discussion regarding the presence and character of temporal thinking in the Hebrew Bible more generally. Mirroring the interest in Ecclesiastes for both, Bundvad discusses the biblical book's presentation of both the cosmic temporal structures and the framework of the human past, present and future. It offers close readings of a series of passages in which the theme of time is especially prominent, thus demonstrating how the discussion of time works in Ecclesiastes and how it interacts with other of the book's key-themes.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Wisdom Literature, Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Rhetorical Criticism, Narrative Criticism

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Review by Doug Ingram
Published 10/30/2016
Citation: Doug Ingram, review of Mette Bundvad, Time in the Book of Ecclesiastes, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2016).


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