Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes and Canticles/Song of Songs: The Quest for Meaning and Love in Ancient Israel

The lecture commences with an outline of the structure, followed by the identification as to the person of Qoheleth and his relationship with the book. Further topics to be discussed include: literary forms, genre, influences on the book, Qoheleth a pessimist, sceptic or preacher of joy. The presentation of the book concludes with the examination of such theological themes as: God, God’s relationship to humans, wisdom and death. Further topics to be discussed include: role play and reflection on life, Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes and Ben Sirach, quotations in Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes, a Zwar-Aber Aussage analysis, Ginsberg’s and Rousseau’s structure of Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes, Rousseau’s cycles, the old house of Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes in 12,2-6, reward and punishment, Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes and the Harper’s Song from the tomb of king Intef, meaning and meaninglessness. The second half of the lecture investigates Canticles/Songs of Songs, first by attempting to identify its author, which attempt is followed by such issues as text, vocabulary and its date. The love poetry of this book is scrutinized in light of Sumerian, Akkadian, Ugaritic and Egyptian love poetry. Further topics to be discussed include: the literary forms and imagery, the structure and the interpretation of Canticles/Songs of Songs. This latter issue, subsumes the presentation of the allegorical, natural/literal, cultic and feminist interpretations. Further topics to be discussed include: dramatic interpretations of Canticles/Songs of Songs, Canticles/Songs of Songs and the garden of Eden account and jealousy. The lecture concludes with an outline of the message of the book.