Ecclesiastes authorship and dating

In fact, some plural suffixes (eg for feminine antecedents) are consistent with Late Biblical Hebrew and Mishnaic Hebrew.

Seow says if the MT is a reliable witness to the book's original orthography, its spelling convention is quite consistent with what one would expect in the exilic or post-exilic period.

In no way, for example, does it specifically resemble the Hebrew of Malachi, Esther, or of the Chronicler.

The Hebrew קהלת (Qohelet), the original title for the Book of Ecclesiastes, is a feminine participle related to the root קהל ("to gather").

Scholars are unsure whether it means the "one who gathers" or the "one among the gathering." From the time of the Septuagint translation onward, the title of the book has been derived from the Greek term Εκκλησία (ecclesia), which originally denoted secular gatherings, but later came to be seen in a primarily religious context.

For Qoheleth, God seems remote and uncommunicative, and we cannot hope to understand, much less influence, God’s activity in the world (; –17).

The book’s honest and blunt appraisal of the human condition provides a healthy corrective to the occasionally excessive self-assurance of other wisdom writers.

On the other hand, a long tradition asserts Solomonic authorship, and some modern commentaries object to Delitzsch’s conclusions.

The New American Commentary, for instance, says: The peculiar Hebrew of Ecclesiastes cannot be evidence for a late date since it does not fit anywhere in the known history of the language.

Since Aramaic developed as a separate language well into the first millennium BCE, the Book of Ecclesiastes could not have been authored by Solomon. Seow says in his paper, 'Linguistic Evidence and the Dating of Qohelet', published in the Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol 115, No 4, 1996, page 645, says the text as we have it shows full use of vowel letters, and the ample use of internal letters points to an exilic or post-exilic date.

Aramaic became the and some Psalms, was attributed to Solomon because of the wise sayings it contains, hardly a secure basis for an attribution. Certain plural endings are also what one would expect from an exilic or post-exilic work.

refers to the speaker (Ecc 1:2,12; Ecc 12:8), though the exact meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain.

The Hebrew name of this book and of its author, Qoheleth, is actually a title, and it perhaps means “assembler” (of students, listeners) or “collector” (of wisdom sayings).

While previous translators have suggested that Qohelet could be fittingly translated as The Preacher (as in Saint Jerome's Ecclesiastes and Martin Luther's Der Prediger), this term implies a religious characterization that is not inherently reflected in the text.

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