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A research of the identity of ambiguous name Qoheleth

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2018, 24(4), pp.94-124
  • DOI : 10.24333/jkots.2018.24.4.94
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology
  • Received : September 30, 2018
  • Accepted : November 10, 2018

Kim Soon Young 1

1서울한영대

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The goal of this study is to reveal the identity of the ambiguous name ‘Qoheleth’ and to assert the constitutive unity of the book of Qoheleth as a whole. The ambiguity of the text language itself and composition that is not concentrated on a single topic, was an annoyance. But when we think differently, ambiguity has indeterminate elements that cannot be read immediately, but it can be a means to convey truth as a paradox. Thus, ambiguity requires readers' close reading, and guides them to face the text with freshness rather than with familiarity. So ambiguity is the author's intended rhetorical strategy. The Hebrew title Qoheleth(1:1) and the combinations of the third person verbs(1:2; 12:8) and the first person discourse(1:12; 1:14 etc.) allowed professional readers to guess the possibility of other editors. However, the title(1:1) and the ending section(12:9-14) constitute the outer frame of the book and represent a functional relationship and the identity of who he/she is. Qoheleth may be a pen name of a functional identity, because it has a definite article (12:8, tl,h,AQh; rm;a'). Especially, the female verb of 'Qoheleth’ (7:27, tl,h,qo hr"m.a') has opened the possibility of a female wisdom teacher. In this context of grammatical gender, Qoheleth may not be King Solomon, the symbol of wisdom, power, and wealth. She/He may be an anonymous wise person like a mother who teaches king Lemuel (Prov 31:1-9), ‘a qualified woman’ who demonstrates the well-being of her family and her social leadership(31:10-31). The possibility that Qoheleth is a woman, will be an antidote and a lesson for a society that has not broken the gender discrimination of leadership. Qoheleth observed various things that happened ‘under the sun’ and answered with the superlative expression ‘hebel’-judgement (1:2; 12:8). In every place of the ordinary life where ambiguity and suffering existed, however, he(she) was active in the name of ‘Qoheleth’ as an intellectual speaker and writer(12:11) in the field of everyday life struggling against confusion and at the places where the public gathered. She/He was a wisdom teacher who searched pleasing words and recorded true words(12:9-10). And she/he looked at the absurdities of all things ‘under the sun’ and honestly expressed skeptical thoughts without hesitation but she/he consistently kept ‘the fear of God’ (3:14; 5:7; 7:18; 8:12, 13) and stressed it to the end (12:13).

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