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The Values and Limits of Qohelet’s Sub-Celestial Economy

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image of Vetus Testamentum

AbstractQohelet draws upon the metaphors of a mercantile economy in order to assign values to human life. The primary context in which he calculates these values is time-under-the-sun. In the economy of time-under-the-sun, there are both absolute and relative credits. On the one hand, the inevitable onset of death reduces all credits or debits to zero. Yet on the other hand, Qohelet claims that the enjoyment of one’s profits during one’s lifetime is a relative credit. The sage, however, also perceives another sort of reckoning which reaches beyond his empirical observation. He speaks of a matrix outside of the rule of the sun, which he calls עולם. In this space beyond time God has ordained a judgment in which the pious will profit and the impious will suffer loss. The onset of a new order beyond the sun raises the possibility that zero might not be the final answer after all.

Affiliations: 1: Covenant College14049 Scenic Hwy, Lookout Mountain, GA


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