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Ecclesiastes, Or, The Preacher


Ecclesiastes, Or, The Preacher

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    E H Plumptre
Excerpt from book: CHAPTER VII. ECCLESIASTES AND ITS PATRISTIC INTERPRETERS. It does not fall, as has been just said, within the plan of the present book, to give a review of the Commentaries on Ecclesi- astes that have preceded it, so far as they represent only the opinions of individual writers. The case is, however, as before, altered when they represent a school of thought or a stage in the history of interpretation, and where accordingly the outcome of their labours illustrates more or less completely the worth of the method they adopted, the authority which may rightly be given to the dicta of the School. It has been said (Ginsburg, p. 99), that Ecclesiastes is nowhere quoted in the New Testament, and as far as direct, formal quotations are concerned the assertion is strictly true. It was not strange that it should thus be passed over. The controversy already referred to (Ch. III.) between the schools of Hillel and Shammai as to its reception into the Canon, the doubts that hung over the drift of its teaching, would naturally throw it into the background of the studies of devout Israelites. It would not be taught in schools. It was not read in Synagogues. It was out of harmony with the glowing hopes of those who were looking for the Christ or were satisfied that they had found Him. Traces of its not being altogether unknown to the writers of the New Testament may, however, be found. When St Paul teaches why "the creation was made subject to vanity" (Rom. viii. 20), using the same Greek word as that employed by the LXX. translators, we may recognise a reference to the dominant burden of the book. When St James writes "What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James iv. 14) we may hear something like an echo of Eccles. vi. 12. ...   show more
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  • PDF | 184 pages
  • E H Plumptre
  • General Books LLC
  • Unknown
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