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Hebrew Studies 31 (1990) 210 Reviews This essay is a helpful corrective to interpretations which have too easily disposed of tensions in the story. I agree, when all is said and done, "there is a fine irony here. Jephthah, who earlier proved himself to be a man of careful words, in his successful negotiations with the elders..., misspeaks the wording of his own vow!" Even the "misspeaking" is ambiguous . So the story remains to be read dialectically. Robert G. Boling McCormick Theological Seminary Chicago.IL 60637 QOHELET. By Diethelm Michel. Ertrl1ge der Forschung. Pp. vii + 181. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft Darmstadt, 1988. Paper. In accordance with the general aim of the series Ertr11ge der Forschung, D. Michel offers a critical survey of the main scholarly positions concerning the different problems which beset the study of Qohelet. The first chapter is devoted to the name and identity of the author. Morphologically, n'.,p seems to be the name of an office, but since it was probably coined as a name for the author of our book, the usual derivation from '.,p "assembly " would be questionable. In view of the character of the book, Michel considers a meaning like "skeptic" (C. F. Whitley) more convenient. In this reviewer's opinion this is a mere guess. The second chapter deals with the literary structure of Qoheleth. In Michel's opinion there is no continuous logical line in the book, but at the same time it is not an accidental collection of sayings. The muddled outlook of the book has given rise to drastic literarkritische approaches, the masterpiece of which was the commentary by E. Podechard, as well as to numerous attempts to find a disposition intended by the author. Michel suggests that today the tensions in Qoheleth can be solved without recourse to Literarkritik. His own understanding is that Qoh 1:3-3:15 was devised as a tract in which the author takes issue with traditional wisdom and presents his own basic position as a skeptic. From 3:16 on he responds to a number of questions from that basic position. The views he attacks are often presented in the form of quotations. In his chapter on the language Michel examines briefly the common view that Qoheleth's Hebrew is postexilic and close to Mishnaic Hebrew. He Hebrew Studies 31 (1990) 211 Reviews also deals with the "Aramaic Translation Theory" (mainly F. Zimmermann ) and its rejection by R. Gordis and C. P. Whitley. Next he discusses the scholarly positions regarding foreign influence on Qoheleth: Egyptian (P. Humbert), Babylonian (0. Loretz), Phoenician (M. Dahood), and Hellenistic (mainly M. Hengel, R. Braun, and N. Lohfink). Lohfink in particular has suggested that Qoheleth's work is a revisionary continuation of traditional views in the Torah and Prophets under the influence of popular Greek philosophy. Michel, however, is of the opinion that no single text in the book allows us to regard Qoheleth's audience as having listened in the Temple to the Torah and Prophets. In a chapter on Qoheleth and Biblical-Jewish tradition, he defmes Qoheleth's position as a Wisdom book and looks into its dependence on other biblical traditions. He concludes that Qoheleth depends very little on sapiential or other religious traditions. Rather Qoheleth founds his expositions on his own thinking and is situated within the rising Sadducean movement. The chapter on literary forms deals with the royal fiction (Konigsfiktion ) and autobiographical narrative (lch-Berichte). As for Qoheleth's spiritual profile, in his expositions he continuously uses a few key-words like ;~i1 "absurdity," 1"n' "profit," and p;n "portion." As for the difference between the last two words, Michel is not very explicit, referring the reader to his Untersuchungen zur Eigenart des Buches Qohelet (BZAW 183 [1989]) which has since been published. Michel would call Qoheleth a skeptic rather than a pessimist and discusses briefly some specific approaches in Qoheleth-research such as the psychoanalytic one (P. Zimmermann) or the social-historical one (P. CrUsemann). After having reviewed the exegetical literature on Qoheleth's idea of God, he reaches the conclusion that this idea can be expressed in two principles: (1) All that happens is God's work. (2) Man cannot...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 210-213
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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