Ecclesiastes authorship dating

The time period is following the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 some 150 years after the death of Isaiah. Is it not possible that a subsequent author could have built on the theology of Isaiah, particularly the ideas of God's sovereignty and holiness, the idea of the remnant and the Messiah, and brought them to bear on a later situation.

When one reads the material carefully, one has the feeling that the author was there among his people, that he sensed their fears and their doubts about God and about Cyrus, and that he was enraged at their propensity toward idolatry.

However, for the past two hundred years many interpreters have suggested that this view should be more finely nuanced.

The book seems to fall into three major divisions: (1) chs.

Therefore, we can safely identify Solomon as the qoheleth of the opening verse.

With Solomon as the author of the book, we know it had to have been written sometime before his death in 931 BC.

1-39 portray Isaiah as bringing the word of God to bear on Judah (chs. 13-27), returning to address Judah once again (chs. 36-39 being a historical section repeated from 2Kings ff. Readers who believe in the limitless power of God will affirm that God could project Isaiah 150 years into the future to produce the material of chs.

The prophet calls the people to take heart; God is about to deliver them and take them home. 56-66 appear to be later still, during the time of restoration when the exiles have returned home and are trying to rebuild their city. We must remember that the prophetic word was expansive, that is, spoken to a particular situation but having a life of its own, making it applicable to situations in the future.

(10) Kohelet's language seems to reflect the transitional stage between late Biblical Hebrew and early Mishnaic Hebrew, and consequently the book is dated to the third century BCE.

(1) Midrash Kohelet Rabbati (chapter 1) reinforces the link between Kohelet and Solomon by positing that Kohelet was one of Solomon's names, although there is no biblical evidence to support this view.

(2) The first Jewish commentator to deny Solomonic authorship of the Book of Kohelet was Luzzatto.

The content of Ecclesiastes reflects someone looking back on a life that was long on experience but short on lasting rewards.

As king, he had the opportunity and resources to pursue the rewards of wisdom, pleasure, and work in and of themselves.

The language of the book belongs to the latest stage of linguistic development attested in the Tanakh.

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