Friday, August 26, 2011

September 30, 2011 -- Ecclesiastes

Our next meeting:
Friday, September 30, 2011, 7:00 PM
Kansas City Public Library/Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
4801 Main Street Kansas City, MO

We are meeting to discuss the Book of Ecclesiastes as literature.

The Book of Ecclesiastes, literally "Book of the Teacher", commonly referred to simply asEcclesiastes, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.

The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth (usually translated as "teacher" or "preacher"), introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal or autobiographic matter, at times expressed in aphorisms and maxims illuminated in terse paragraphs with reflections on the meaning of life and the best way of life. The work emphatically proclaims all the actions of man to be inherently "vain", "futile", "empty", "meaningless", "temporary", "transitory", "fleeting, or "mere breath", depending on translation, as the lives of both wise and foolish men end in death. While Qoheleth clearly endorses wisdom as a means for a well-lived earthly life, he is unable to ascribe eternal meaning to it. In light of this perceived senselessness, he suggests that one should enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life, such as eating, drinking, and taking enjoyment in one's work, which are gifts from the hand of God.

The book is particularly notable for its iconic phrases, "the sun also rises," "[there's] nothing new under the sun" and "he who increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow."