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A Study on the Structure and Contents of Qoh 11:1-12:8 from the Point of View of the Triadic Pattern

Cheol-Woo Park 1

1나사렛대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Qoh 11:1-12:8 is one of the most disputed passages regarding the understanding of its structure and demarcation of literary units. Many scholars consider Qoh 11:7-12:7(8) as an independent unit, separate from 11:1-6. G. S. Ogden is one of those recent scholars representing this position. Daniel C. Fredericks raised an opposite view, and claimed that Qoh 11:1-12:8 is an independent literary unit. I am at one with Daniel C. Fredericks on seeing it as a single independent structure. However, I detected some problems in his understanding and analysis of the passage and have attempted complement his structural view. Particularly I approached the passage from the angle of the triadic pattern of Hebrew literature. The triadic pattern is an important rhetorical device and appears throughout the book of Qoheleth (cf. 2:1-26; esp. 18-23; 3:10-15; 4:1-16; 5:18-20; 9:7-10). Qoh 11:1-12:8 was composed in the literary frame of the triadic pattern with hebel and the proclamation of the God of creation as its central literary components, and by developing its theological contents in the interconnection of three subunits 11:1-8, 11:9-10, and 12:1-8. Each of these three subunits was composed with its own triadic pattern(A-B-A’ structure). Additionally, the structure of the first subunit (11:1-8) and third subunit (12:1-8) are in structural parallelism in that both similarly have an additional concluding passage in their endings. This unit (11:1-12:8) emphasizes the importance of the fear of God of creation and the vanity of human folly. It has been strengthened with the threefold emphasis of hebel at the end of the unit(12:8). All these elements and other particularities analysed in the article show the literary unity of Qoh 11:1-12:8 with its triadic pattern of structure, and the poetical artistry which should be considered in the efforts of translation and interpretation of the book of Qoheleth.

Citation status

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