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Wahrnehmungen und Deutungen der Zeit im Buch Kohelet


Krüger, Thomas (2014). Wahrnehmungen und Deutungen der Zeit im Buch Kohelet. Jahrbuch für biblische Theologie, 28:21-45.

Abstract

The Book of Qohelet presents the most elaborate discussion of the topic of time in the Hebrew Bible. Humans experience time as past, present and future. The more distant a period of time is from the present, the less people know about it. Thus time limits their knowledge and their ability to carry out plans, the more so because fitting occasions come and go in the course of time in a way that is not fully foreseeable. Those who can be happy only if they manage to achieve their goals, like the king in Qoh 1-2, are necessarily driven to despair by the experience of time. But if one, like the authorial voice in Qoh 3-12, understands time as a creation of a god who sometimes lets people be happy, sometimes punishes them for mistakes, and sometimes reminds them of their limits, one is in with a chance to find some happiness in life, the more so if people let others take part in their fortune. With regard to its view of time the Book of Qohelet overlaps with a large part of the Hebrew Bible. However, there is a marked difference between Qohelet's insistence on the limits of human knowledge of the future and an optimistic wisdom that claims to know the sure way to success in life, or late prophetic traditions which claim to know in detail what will happen until the end of the world. From today's perspective, Qohelet obviously is proved right against these other streamns of biblical thought.

The Book of Qohelet presents the most elaborate discussion of the topic of time in the Hebrew Bible. Humans experience time as past, present and future. The more distant a period of time is from the present, the less people know about it. Thus time limits their knowledge and their ability to carry out plans, the more so because fitting occasions come and go in the course of time in a way that is not fully foreseeable. Those who can be happy only if they manage to achieve their goals, like the king in Qoh 1-2, are necessarily driven to despair by the experience of time. But if one, like the authorial voice in Qoh 3-12, understands time as a creation of a god who sometimes lets people be happy, sometimes punishes them for mistakes, and sometimes reminds them of their limits, one is in with a chance to find some happiness in life, the more so if people let others take part in their fortune. With regard to its view of time the Book of Qohelet overlaps with a large part of the Hebrew Bible. However, there is a marked difference between Qohelet's insistence on the limits of human knowledge of the future and an optimistic wisdom that claims to know the sure way to success in life, or late prophetic traditions which claim to know in detail what will happen until the end of the world. From today's perspective, Qohelet obviously is proved right against these other streamns of biblical thought.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology > Institute of Theology
Dewey Decimal Classification:230 Christianity & Christian theology
Language:German
Date:2014
Deposited On:19 Aug 2014 12:32
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:01
Publisher:Neukirchener Verlag
ISSN:0935-9338
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-98166

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