Joshua 1:1 in the Aleppo Codex.

October 21, 2013 | Posted in:Key texts

The Old Testament’s jewel, Ecclesiastes, is a series of prophetic reflections on the fleeting character of life. Ecclesiastes’ somber yet beautiful aphorisms speak eloquently about time and chance, wisdom and folly, power and injustice, the futility of human ambitions and accomplishments, the inevitability of suffering and death, and the relationship between the human and the divine.
This book introduces the core issues of the “Meaning of Life” course. Are some ways of life intrinsically better than others? If so, why? What is the value of pleasure, wealth, fame, and power if all are transient? Does knowledge in fact “increase sorrow”? Is resignation the only adequate answer to life’s tragedies and injustices? How are we to understand Ecclesiastes’ verdict that “all is vanity and vexation of spirit”?

Ecclesiastes, or, the Preacher. The Holy Bible, King James Version.

Further Readings:

  • Alter, Robert. The Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes: A Translation with Commentary. Trans. Robert Alter. W.W. Norton & Company, 2011.
  • Bartholomew, Craig G. Ecclesiastes. Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms. Ed. Tremper Longman III. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing, 2009.
  • Christianson, Eric S., ed. Ecclesiastes Through the Centuries. Blackwell Bible Commentaries. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.


  1. Emily Grosholz
    November 29, 2014

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    How can I sign up to contribute to this website?

  2. Emily Grosholz
    January 4, 2015

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    Twelfth Night

    The Christmas tree is dry:
    Resin-dropping twigs whose silky needles
    Stroked my hand in Advent, break and crumble.
    Time, high time, to take the strung lights down,
    The ornaments that shiver,
    And from the mantlepiece the gilded star
    Beside the homeless family it shown on.

    Our house in space is here.
    Our house in time is the terrestrial year,
    Marked for us by the sun’s near disappearance
    In night and winter storm,
    And those three painted fugitives, who huddle
    Against the chill of a wind-riddled byre
    To greet a mortal baby, small and warm.

    Emily Grosholz (from Childhood, Accents Publishing, 2014)

  3. me timbers
    July 18, 2016

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    Why Your Fall Starbucks Drink Order is … – Eat Feel Fresh

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