Ecclesiastes (/ɪˌkliːziˈæstiːz/; Greek: Ἐκκλησιαστής, Ekklēsiastēs, Hebrew: קֹהֶלֶת‬, qōheleṯ) is one of 24 books of the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, where it is classified as one of the Ketuvim (or "Writings"). Originally written c. 450–200 BCE, it is also among the canonical Wisdom Books in the Old Testament of most denominations of Christianity. The title Ecclesiastes is a Latin transliteration of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Kohelet, the pseudonym used by the author of the book.

In traditional Jewish texts, King Solomon is named as the author, although modern scholars reject this. Textually, the book is the musings of a King of Jerusalem as he relates his experiences and draws lessons from them, often self-critical. The author, who is not named anywhere in the book, or in the whole of the Bible, introduces a "Kohelet" whom he identifies as the son of David (1:1). The author does not use his own "voice" throughout the book again until the final verses (12:9–14), where he gives his own thoughts and summarises what "the Kohelet" has spoken.

The Kohelet discusses the meaning of life and the best way to live. He also proclaims all the actions of man to be inherently hevel, meaning "vain" or "futile", ("mere breath"), as both the wise and the foolish end their lives in death. Kohelet clearly endorses wisdom as a means for a well-lived earthly life. In light of this senselessness, one should enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life, such as eating, drinking, and taking enjoyment in one's work, which are gifts from the hand of God. The book concludes with the injunction: "Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone" (12:13).

Ecclesiastes has had a deep influence on Western literature. It contains several phrases that have resonated in British and American culture, and was quoted by Abraham Lincoln addressing Congress in 1862. American novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote:

"[O]f all I have ever seen or learned, that book seems to me the noblest, the wisest, and the most powerful expression of man's life upon this earth—and also the highest flower of poetry, eloquence, and truth. I am not given to dogmatic judgments in the matter of literary creation, but if I had to make one I could say that Ecclesiastes is the greatest single piece of writing I have ever known, and the wisdom expressed in it the most lasting and profound."[1]


Ecclesiastes is presented as biography of "Kohelet" (or "Qoheleth", meaning "Assembler", but traditionally translated by Christians as "Teacher" or "Preacher"[2]). Kohelet's story is framed by voice of the narrator, who refers to Kohelet in the third person, praises his wisdom, but reminds the reader that wisdom has its limitations and is not man's main concern. Kohelet reports what he planned, did, experienced and thought. His journey to knowledge is, in the end, incomplete. The reader is not only to hear Kohelet's wisdom, but to observe his journey towards understanding and acceptance of life's frustrations and uncertainties: the journey itself is important.[3]

Few of the many attempts to uncover an underlying structure to Ecclesiastes have met with widespread acceptance; among them, the following is one of the more influential:[4]

  • Title (1:1)
  • Initial poem (1:2–11)
  • I: Kohelet's investigation of life (1:12–6:9)
  • II: Kohelet's conclusions (6:10–11:6)
    • Introduction (6:10–12)
    • A: Man cannot discover what is good for him to do (7:1–8:17)
    • B: Man does not know what will come after him (9:1–11:6)
  • Concluding poem (11:7–12:8)
  • Epilogue (12:9–14)

Verse 1:1 is a superscription, the ancient equivalent of a title page: it introduces the book as "the words of Kohelet, son of David, king in Jerusalem."[5]

Most, though not all, modern commentators regard the epilogue (12:9–14) as an addition by a later scribe. Some have identified certain other statements as further additions intended to make the book more religiously orthodox (e.g., the affirmations of God's justice and the need for piety).[6]


The ten-verse introduction in verses 1:2–11 are the words of the frame narrator; they set the mood for what is to follow: Kohelet's message is that all is meaningless.[5]

After the introduction come the words of Kohelet. As king he has experienced everything and done everything, but nothing is ultimately reliable. Death levels all. The only good is to partake of life in the present, for enjoyment is from the hand of God. Everything is ordered in time and people are subject to time in contrast to God's eternal character. The world is filled with injustice, which only God will adjudicate. God and humans do not belong in the same realm and it is therefore necessary to have a right attitude before God. People should enjoy, but should not be greedy; no-one knows what is good for humanity; righteousness and wisdom escape us. Kohelet reflects on the limits of human power: all people face death, and death is better than life, but we should enjoy life when we can. The world is full of risk: he gives advice on living with risk, both political and economic. Mortals should take pleasure when they can, for a time may come when no one can. Kohelet's words finish with imagery of nature languishing and humanity marching to the grave.[7]

The frame narrator returns with an epilogue: the words of the wise are hard, but they are applied as the shepherd applies goads and pricks to his flock. The original ending of the book was probably the words: "The end of the matter" (12:13) but the text we have continues: "Fear God" (a phrase used often in Kohelet's speech) "and keep his commandments" (which he never uses), "for God will bring every deed to judgement."[8]


Title, date and author

The book takes its name from the Greek ekklesiastes, a translation of the title by which the central figure refers to himself: Kohelet, meaning something like "one who convenes or addresses an assembly".[9] According to rabbinic tradition, Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon in his old age.[10] (An alternative tradition that "Hezekiah and his colleagues wrote Isaiah, Proverbs, the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes" probably means simply that the book was edited under Hezekiah.)[11] Nevertheless, critical scholars have long rejected the idea of a pre-exilic origin.[12][13] The presence of Persian loan-words and Aramaisms points to a date no earlier than about 450 BCE,[2] while the latest possible date for its composition is 180 BCE, when another Jewish writer, Ben Sira, quotes from it.[14] The dispute as to whether Ecclesiastes belongs to the Persian or the Hellenistic periods (i.e., the earlier or later part of this period) revolves around the degree of Hellenization (influence of Greek culture and thought) present in the book. Scholars arguing for a Persian date (c. 450–330 BCE) hold that there is a complete lack of Greek influence;[2] those who argue for a Hellenistic date (c. 330–180 BCE) argue that it shows internal evidence of Greek thought and social setting.[15]

Also unresolved is whether the author and narrator of Kohelet are one and the same person. Ecclesiastes regularly switches between third-person quotations of Kohelet and first-person reflections on Kohelet's words, which would indicate the book was written as a commentary on Kohelet's parables rather than a personally-authored repository of his sayings. Some scholars have argued that the third-person narrative structure is an artificial literary device along the lines of Uncle Remus, although the description of the Kohelet in 12:8–14 seems to favour a historical person whose thoughts are presented by the narrator.[16] The question, however, has no theological importance,[16] and one scholar (Roland Murphy) has commented that Kohelet himself would have regarded the time and ingenuity put into interpreting his book as "one more example of the futility of human effort".[17]

Genre and setting

Ecclesiastes has taken its literary form from the Middle Eastern tradition of the fictional autobiography, in which a character, often a king, relates his experiences and draws lessons from them, often self-critical: Kohelet likewise identifies himself as a king, speaks of his search for wisdom, relates his conclusions, and recognises his limitations.[3] It belongs to the category of wisdom literature, the body of biblical writings which give advice on life, together with reflections on its problems and meanings—other examples include the Book of Job, Proverbs, and some of the Psalms. Ecclesiastes differs from the other biblical Wisdom books in being deeply skeptical of the usefulness of Wisdom itself.[18] Ecclesiastes in turn influenced the deuterocanonical works, Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach, both of which contain vocal rejections of the Ecclesiastical philosophy of futility.

Wisdom was a popular genre in the ancient world, where it was cultivated in scribal circles and directed towards young men who would take up careers in high officialdom and royal courts; there is strong evidence that some of these books, or at least sayings and teachings, were translated into Hebrew and influenced the Book of Proverbs, and the author of Ecclesiastes was probably familiar with examples from Egypt and Mesopotamia.[19] He may also have been influenced by Greek philosophy, specifically the schools of Stoicism, which held that all things are fated, and Epicureanism, which held that happiness was best pursued through the quiet cultivation of life's simpler pleasures.[20]


The presence of Ecclesiastes in the Bible is something of a puzzle, as the common themes of the Hebrew canon—a God who reveals and redeems, who elects and cares for a chosen people—are absent from it, which suggests that Kohelet had lost his faith in his old age. Understanding the book was a topic of the earliest recorded discussions (the hypothetical Council of Jamnia in the 1st century CE). One argument advanced then was that the name of Solomon carried enough authority to ensure its inclusion, but other works which appeared with Solomon's name were excluded despite being more orthodox than Ecclesiastes.[21] Another was that the words of the epilogue, in which the reader is told to fear God and keep his commands, made it orthodox; but all later attempts to find anything in the rest of the book which would reflect this orthodoxy have failed. A modern suggestion treats the book as a dialogue in which different statements belong to different voices, with Kohelet himself answering and refuting unorthodox opinions, but there are no explicit markers for this in the book, as there are, for example in the Book of Job. Yet another suggestion is that Ecclesiastes is simply the most extreme example of a tradition of skepticism, but none of the proposed examples match Ecclesiastes for a sustained denial of faith and doubt in the goodness of God. "In short, we do not know why or how this book found its way into such esteemed company," summarizes Martin A. Shields in his 2006 book The End of Wisdom: A Reappraisal of the Historical and Canonical Function of Ecclesiastes[22]


Scholars disagree about the themes of Ecclesiastes. Is it positive and life-affirming, or deeply pessimistic?[23] Is Kohelet coherent or incoherent, insightful or confused, orthodox or heterodox? Is the ultimate message of the book to copy Kohelet, the wise man, or to avoid his errors?[24] At times Kohelet raises deep questions; he "doubted every aspect of religion, from the very ideal of righteousness, to the by now traditional idea of divine justice for individuals."[25] Some passages of Ecclesiastes seem to contradict other portions of the Old Testament, and even itself.[23] One suggestion for resolving the contradictions is to read the book as the record of Kohelet's quest for knowledge: opposing judgments (e.g., "the dead are better off than the living" (4:2) vs. "a living dog is better off than a dead lion" (9:4)) are therefore provisional, and it is only at the conclusion that the verdict is delivered (11–12:7). On this reading, Kohelet's sayings are goads, designed to provoke dialogue and reflection in his readers, rather than to reach premature and self-assured conclusions.[26]

The subjects of Ecclesiastes are the pain and frustration engendered by observing and meditating on the distortions and inequities pervading the world, the uselessness of human deeds, and the limitations of wisdom and righteousness. The phrase "under the sun" appears thirty times in connection with these observations; all this coexists with a firm belief in God, whose power, justice and unpredictability are sovereign.[27] History and nature move in cycles, so that all events are predetermined and unchangeable, and life has no meaning or purpose: the wise man and the man who does not study wisdom will both die and be forgotten: man should be reverent ("Fear God"), but in this life it is best to simply enjoy God's gifts.[20]


In Judaism, Ecclesiastes is read either on Shemini Atzeret (by Yemenites, Italians, some Sepharadim, and the mediaeval French Jewish rite) or on the Shabbat of the Intermediate Days of Sukkot (by Ashkenazim). If there is no Intermediate Sabbath of Sukkot, even the Ashkenazim read it on Shemini Atzeret (or, for Ashkenazim in the Land of Israel, on the first Shabbat of Sukkot). It is read on Sukkot as a reminder to not get too caught up in the festivities of the holiday, as well as to carry over the happiness of Sukkot to the rest of the year by telling the listeners that, without God, life is meaningless. When the listeners take this to heart, then true happiness can be achieved throughout the year.

The final poem of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes 12:1–8) has been interpreted in the Targum, Talmud and Midrash, and by the rabbis Rashi, Rashbam and ibn Ezra, as an allegory of old age.


Ecclesiastes has been cited in the writings of past and current Catholic Church leaders. For example, doctors of the Church have cited Ecclesiastes. St. Augustine of Hippo cited Ecclesiastes in Book XX of City of God.[28] Saint Jerome wrote a commentary on Ecclesiastes.[29] St. Thomas Aquinas cited Ecclesiastes ("The number of fools is infinite.") in his Summa Theologica.[30]

The twentieth-century Catholic theologian and cardinal-elect Hans Urs von Balthasar discusses Ecclesiastes in his work on theological aesthetics, The Glory of the Lord. He describes Qoheleth as "a critical transcendentalist avant la lettre", whose God is distant from the world, and whose kairos is a "form of time which is itself empty of meaning". For Balthasar, the role of Ecclesiastes in the Biblical canon is to represent the "final dance on the part of wisdom, [the] conclusion of the ways of man", a logical end-point to the unfolding of human wisdom in the Old Testament that paves the way for the advent of the New.[31]

The book continues to be cited by recent popes, including Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis. Pope John Paul II, in his general audience of October 20, 2004, called the author of Ecclesiastes "an ancient biblical sage" whose description of death "makes frantic clinging to earthly things completely pointless."[32] Pope Francis cited Ecclesiastes on his address on September 9, 2014. Speaking of vain people, he said, "How many Christians live for appearances? Their life seems like a soap bubble."[33]

Influence on Western literature

Ecclesiastes has had a deep influence on Western literature. It contains several phrases that have resonated in British and American culture, such as "eat, drink and be merry," "nothing new under the sun," "a time to be born and a time to die," and "vanity of vanities; all is vanity."[34] American novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote: "[O]f all I have ever seen or learned, that book seems to me the noblest, the wisest, and the most powerful expression of man's life upon this earth—and also the highest flower of poetry, eloquence, and truth. I am not given to dogmatic judgments in the matter of literary creation, but if I had to make one I could say that Ecclesiastes is the greatest single piece of writing I have ever known, and the wisdom expressed in it the most lasting and profound."[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b Christianson 2007, p. 70.
  2. ^ a b c Seow 2007, p. 944.
  3. ^ a b Fox 2004, p. xiii.
  4. ^ Fox 2004, p. xvi.
  5. ^ a b Longman 1998, pp. 57–59.
  6. ^ Fox 2004, p. xvii.
  7. ^ Seow 2007, pp. 946–57.
  8. ^ Seow 2007, pp. 957–58.
  9. ^ Gilbert 2009, pp. 124–25.
  10. ^ Brown 2011, p. 11.
  11. ^ Smith 2007, p. 692.
  12. ^ Fox 2004, p. x.
  13. ^ Bartholomew 2009, pp. 50–52.
  14. ^ Fox 2004, p. xiv.
  15. ^ Bartholomew 2009, pp. 54–55.
  16. ^ a b Bartholomew 2009, p. 48.
  17. ^ Ingram 2006, p. 45.
  18. ^ Brettler 2007, p. 721.
  19. ^ Fox 2004, pp. x–xi.
  20. ^ a b Gilbert 2009, p. 125.
  21. ^ Diderot, Denis (1752). Canon. pp. 601–04.
  22. ^ Shields 2006, pp. 1-5.
  23. ^ a b Bartholomew 2009, p. 17.
  24. ^ Enns 2011, p. 21.
  25. ^ Hecht, Jennifer Michael (2003). Doubt: A History. New York: Harper Collins. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-06-009795-0.
  26. ^ Brown 2011, pp. 17–18.
  27. ^ Fox 2004, p. ix.
  28. ^ Augustine, The City of God, Book XX. Accessed 2015-06-28.
  29. ^ Jerome, Commentary on Ecclesiastes. Accessed 2015-09-09.
  30. ^ Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica. Accessed 2015-09-09.
  31. ^ von Balthasar, Hans Urs (1991). The Glory of the Lord. Volume VI: Theology: The Old Covenant. Translated by Brian McNeil and Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis. Edinburgh: T&T Clark. pp. 137–43.
  32. ^ Manhardt, Laurie (2009). Come and See: Wisdom of the Bible. Emmaus Road Publishing. p. 115. ISBN 9781931018555.
  33. ^ Pope Francis, "Pope Francis: Vain Christians are like soap bubbles". Accessed 2015-09-09.
  34. ^ Hirsch, E.D. (2002). The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 8. ISBN 0618226478.
  35. ^ Foote, Shelby (1986). The Civil War, a narrative, vol. 1. Vintage Books. pp. 807–08. ISBN 9780307744678.
  36. ^ 1856-1950., Shaw, Bernard, (2006). The adventures of the black girl in her search for God. London: Hesperus. ISBN 1843914220. OCLC 65469757.


Further reading

  • Ranston, Harry (1925). Ecclesiastes and the Early Greek Wisdom Literature. First ed. Epworth Press.
  • Shapiro, Rabbi Rami Translation & Annotation, Foreword by Rev. Barbara Cawthrone Crafton (2010). Ecclesiastes Annotated & Explained. Skylight Paths Publishing
  • Brown, Murphy, and Fitzmeyer, The Jerome Bible Commentary 1968, See:Ecclesiastes, Prentice Hall Later Edition

External links

Preceded by
Hebrew Bible Succeeded by
Preceded by
Old Testament
Succeeded by
Song of Songs
A Rose for Ecclesiastes

"A Rose for Ecclesiastes" is a science fiction short story by American author Roger Zelazny, first published in the November 1963 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction with a special wraparound cover painting by Hannes Bok. It was nominated for the 1964 Hugo Award for Short Fiction.

Book of Lamentations

The Book of Lamentations (Hebrew: אֵיכָה‬, ‘Êykhôh, from its incipit meaning "how") is a collection of poetic laments for the destruction of Jerusalem. In the Hebrew Bible it appears in the Ketuvim ("Writings"), beside the Song of Songs, Book of Ruth, Ecclesiastes and the Book of Esther (the Megilloth or "Five Scrolls"), although there is no set order; in the Christian Old Testament it follows the Book of Jeremiah, as the prophet Jeremiah is its traditional author. Jeremiah's authorship is no longer generally accepted, although it is generally accepted that the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon in 586 BC forms the background to the poems. The book is partly a traditional "city lament" mourning the desertion of the city by God, its destruction, and the ultimate return of the divinity, and partly a funeral dirge in which the bereaved bewails and addresses the dead. The tone is bleak: God does not speak, the degree of suffering is presented as undeserved, and expectations of future redemption are minimal.The book is traditionally recited on the fast day of Tisha B'Av ("Ninth of Av"), mourning the destruction of both the First Temple and the Second; in Christianity it is traditionally read during Tenebrae of the Holy Triduum.

Book of Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs (Hebrew: מִשְלֵי, Míshlê (Shlomoh), "Proverbs (of Solomon)") is the second book of the third section (called Writings) of the Hebrew Bible and a book of the Christian Old Testament. When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms: in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) it became Παροιμίαι Paroimiai ("Proverbs"); in the Latin Vulgate the title was Proverbia, from which the English name is derived.

Proverbs is not merely an anthology but a "collection of collections" relating to a pattern of life which lasted for more than a millennium. It is an example of the Biblical wisdom tradition, and raises questions of values, moral behaviour, the meaning of human life, and right conduct. The repeated theme is that "the fear of God (meaning submission to the will of God) is the beginning of wisdom." Wisdom is praised for her role in creation; God acquired her before all else, and through her he gave order to chaos; and since humans have life and prosperity by conforming to the order of creation, seeking wisdom is the essence and goal of the religious life.

Book of Wisdom

The Wisdom of Solomon or Book of Wisdom is a Jewish work, written in Greek, composed in Alexandria (Egypt). Generally dated to the 2nd century BC, the central theme of the work is "Wisdom" itself, appearing under two principal aspects. In its relation to man, Wisdom is the perfection of knowledge of the righteous as a gift from God showing itself in action. In direct relation to God, Wisdom is with God from all eternity. It is one of the seven Sapiential or wisdom books included within the Septuagint, along with Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Song of Solomon), Job, and Sirach, and is included in the canon of Deuterocanonical books by the Roman Catholic Church and the anagignoskomena (Gr. ἀναγιγνωσκόμενα, meaning "those which are to be read") of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Most Protestants consider it part of the Apocrypha.

Bread upon the Waters

"Bread upon the Waters" is a short story by Rudyard Kipling, which first appeared in the London Graphic in December 1895. It was later published in The Day's Work (1898). The title derives from Ecclesiastes 11:1 - "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days". It was originally illustrated by Sir Frank Brangwyn.

Breed (comics)

'Breed is the title of three limited series of comic books published in the US, written and drawn by Jim Starlin. The first two were published by Malibu Comics under its Bravura imprint; the third limited series was published by Image Comics.

Dust in the Wind

"Dust in the Wind" is a song recorded by American progressive rock band Kansas and written by band member Kerry Livgren, first released on their 1977 album Point of Know Return.

The song peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week of April 22, 1978, making it Kansas's only top ten Billboard Hot 100 charting single. The 45-rpm single was certified Gold for sales of one million units by the RIAA shortly after the height of its popularity as a hit single. More than 25 years later, the RIAA certified Gold the digital download format of the song, Kansas' only single to do so certified as of September 17, 2008.

Eccles, West Virginia

Eccles is a census-designated place (CDP) in Raleigh County, West Virginia, United States. Eccles is located on West Virginia Route 3 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Beckley. Eccles has a post office with ZIP code 25836. As of the 2010 census, its population is 362.The community was originally named after the book Ecclesiastes, where the mining company of it's namesake was formed around the turn of the century. The name was later shortened by the local post office to Eccles to allow for easier postage and mail flow due to a common inability to correctly spell the name.. Eccles is the site of the April 28, 1914 Eccles coal mining disaster, which took the lives of 180 men.

Ecclesiastes Rabbah

Ecclesiastes Rabbah or Kohelet Rabbah (Hebrew: קהלת רבה) is an haggadic commentary on Ecclesiastes, included in the collection of the Midrash Rabbot. It follows the Biblical book verse by verse, only a few verses remaining without comment. In the list of the old sedarim for the Bible four sedarim are assigned to Ecclesiastes, namely, to i. 1, iii. 13, vii. 1, and ix. 7; and the Midrash Ḳohelet was probably divided according to these sections. This appears from the phrase "Sidra tinyana" inserted between the comments to Eccl. vi. 12 and to vii. 1, and the phrase "Sidra telita'a" between the comments to Eccl. ix. 6 and to ix. 7. These phrases occur at the end of the second and third midrash sections, in the same way that "Seliḳ sidra" indicates the end of sections in Ruth R. and Esth. R. in the earlier editions. The commentary to iii. 12 having been lost, the exposition of the conclusion of the first section is missing. Nothing remains to indicate where one section ends and another begins, as there is no introductory remark to the comment on ii. 13. But an introduction is also lacking to the comment on vii. 1 and ix. 7.

Ecclesiastes of Erasmus

Ecclesiastes: On the Art of Preaching (Latin: Ecclesiastes: sive de ratione concionandi) was a 1535 book by Desiderius Erasmus. One of the last major works he produced, Ecclesiastes focuses on the subject of effective preaching. Previously, Erasmus had written treatises on the Christian layperson, Christian prince, and Christian educator. Friends and admirers, including Bishop John Fisher suggested that Erasmus write on the office of the Christian priesthood. He began writing the text in 1523, finally completing and printing Ecclesiastes in 1535.

Five Megillot

The Five Scrolls or The Five Megillot (Hebrew: חמש מגילות‬ [χaˈmeʃ meɡiˈlot], Hamesh Megillot or Chomeish Megillos) are parts of the Ketuvim ("Writings"), the third major section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). The Five Scrolls are the Song of Songs, the Book of Ruth, the Book of Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and the Book of Esther. These five relatively short biblical books are grouped together in Jewish tradition.


Ketuvim (; Biblical Hebrew: כְּתוּבִים‎ Kəṯûḇîm, "writings") is the third and final section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), after Torah (instruction) and Nevi'im (prophets). In English translations of the Hebrew Bible, this section is usually titled "Writings". Another name used for this section is Hagiographa.

The Ketuvim are believed to have been written under divine inspiration, but with one level less authority than that of prophecy.Found among the Writings within the Hebrew scriptures, I and II Chronicles form one book, along with Ezra and Nehemiah which form a single unit entitled "Ezra–Nehemiah". (In citations by chapter and verse numbers, however, the Hebrew equivalents of "Nehemiah", "I Chronicles" and "II Chronicles" are used, as the system of chapter division was imported from Christian usage.) Collectively, eleven books are included in the Ketuvim.

Many Inventions

Many Inventions (published 1893) is a collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling. Twelve of the 14 stories appeared previously in various publications, including The Atlantic Monthly and the Strand Magazine.

The title refers to a verse from Ecclesiastes, which is quoted on the title page: "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." (Ecclesiastes 7:29)

Midrash Rabba

Midrash Rabba or Midrash Rabbah can refer to part of or the collective whole of aggadic midrashim on the books of the Tanakh, generally having the term "Rabbah" (רבה), meaning "great," as part of their name. These midrashim are as follows:

Genesis Rabbah

Exodus Rabbah

Leviticus Rabbah

Numbers Rabbah

Deuteronomy Rabbah

Canticles Rabbah

Ruth Rabbah

Esther Rabbah

Lamentations Rabbah

Ecclesiastes RabbahThe designation "Rabbah" was first applied to the midrash to Genesis, and then applied to the midrashim to the other books of the Pentateuch, as Vayikrah Rabbah, Shemot Rabbah, etc., which were copied, with Bereshit Rabbah, even in (later) manuscripts. This collection eventually came to be called "Midrash Rabbot" (i.e., "Midrash of the Rabbot"), to which the midrashim most in use during divine service—to Canticles, Book of Ruth, Book of Esther, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes—were subsequently added.

Thus the Venice edition of 1545, in which the midrashim to the Pentateuch and to the Five Scrolls were for the first time printed together, has on the title-page of the first part the words "Midrash Rabbot 'al Ḥamishshah Ḥumshe Torah" (Midrash Rabbah to the Five Books of the Torah), and on that of the second part "Midrash Ḥamesh Megillot Rabbeta" (Midrash Rabbah of the Five Megillot). The editio princeps of the midrashim to the Pentateuch (Constantinople, 1512) begins with the words "Be-shem El atḥil Bereshit Rabba" (In the name of God I shall begin Bereshit Rabbah), and the title of the editio princeps of the midrashim to the Five Rolls (Pesaro, 1519) reads "Midrash Ḥamesh Megillot" (Midrash of the Five Megillot). Still more inexact and misleading is the term "Midrash Rabbah to the Five Books of the Pentateuch and the Five Rolls," as found on the title-page of the two parts in the much-used Wilna edition. After Zunz, it is not necessary to point out that the Midrash Rabbah consists of 10 entirely different midrashim.

Nicodemus ben Gurion

Nicodemus ben Gurion (Hebrew: נקדימון בן גוריון Nakdimon ben Gurion) was a wealthy Jewish man who lived in Jerusalem in the 1st century CE. He is believed by some to be identical to the Nicodemus mentioned in the Gospel of John. Elsewhere he is discussed in Josephus' history, The Jewish War, and later, rabbinic works: Lamentations Rabbah, Ecclesiastes Rabbah, the Babylonian Talmud, and Avot of Rabbi Natan.Ben Gurion means "son of Gurion" in Hebrew and his real name was apparently Buni or Bunai. He acquired the nickname Nicodemus, meaning "conqueror of the people" (from νίκη and δῆμος), or alternate semitic etymology Naqdimon, because of a miraculous answer to a prayer he made.Nicodemus appears to have been a wealthy and respected figure, known for his holiness and generosity. He was an opponent of the Zealots and of the rebellion against Rome which led to the destruction of Jerusalem.When Vespasian became emperor, Nicodemus sought peace with the emperor's son Titus, who was conducting the war. He agitated against the prosecution of the war by the Zealots. In retaliation, they destroyed the stores of provisions that he and his friends had accumulated for the use of pilgrims.


Saint Salonius was a confessor and bishop of the 5th century. He was born about 400, a son of St. Eucherius of Lyon. He was educated at Lérins Abbey, first by St. Hilary of Arles, then by Salvianus and St. Vincent of Lérins. In 440, he was elected bishop of Geneva and, as such, took part in the Synod of Orange (441), the Synod of Vaison (442), and the Synod of Arles (451). He has also been listed as the bishop of Genoa, but it is not clear if this was a later appointment or if the word Geneva was miswritten as Genova. He was an accomplished Latin ecclesiastical writer. Most notably, he composed mystical and allegorical interpretations of the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. His feast day is 28 September.

Turn! Turn! Turn!

"Turn! Turn! Turn!", sometimes known as "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)", is a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s. The lyrics, except for the title, which is repeated throughout the song, and the final two lines, are adapted word-for-word from an English version of the first eight verses of the third chapter of the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes. The song was originally released in 1962 as "To Everything There Is a Season" on folk group the Limeliters' album Folk Matinee, and then some months later on Seeger's own The Bitter and the Sweet.The song became an international hit in late 1965 when it was adapted by the American folk rock group the Byrds. The single entered the U.S. chart at number 80 on October 23, 1965, before reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on December 4, 1965. In Canada, it reached number 3 on November 29, 1965, and also peaked at number 26 on the UK Singles Chart.


A vanitas is a symbolic work of art showing the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death, often contrasting symbols of wealth and symbols of ephemerality and death. Best-known are vanitas still lifes, a common genre in Netherlandish art of the 16th and 17th centuries; they have also been created at other times and in other media and genres.

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