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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Ecclesiastes - Introduction

Most of this book takes the form of a monologue, spoken by a character called ‘(the) Qoheleth’ (‘the Teacher’): its author has adopted the common ancient habit of setting philosophical discussion within speeches, and he probably comments on his own character's words in 12:9–10 . We know little about this author, but the book's language does include a number of Aramaic terms and loanwords from Persian, and has certain characteristics which are more common in post-biblical Hebrew than in the Bible. Despite some attempts to explain these as dialectal, it is widely agreed that they point to a late date of composition. Since the work seems to have been known by Ben Sira, a date between about the fifth and second centuries BCE seems probable, and it is most likely to have been composed in the latter part of this period. The lack of an ancient Septuagint version may be telling in this respect: the Greek ‘Ecclesiastes’ is probably the work of Aquila or his followers. The Greek title reflects an early attempt to translate ‘Qoheleth’: the original meaning of this name or title is uncertain, although it may be connected with ideas of ‘summoning’ or ‘gathering’.

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