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Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 23a, Ecclesiastes (murphy), 254pp [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.5"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Dec 15, 1992
Publisher   Thomas Nelson
ISBN  0849902223  
EAN  9780849902222  

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Item Description...
Ecclesiastes, in the Word Biblical Commentary Series, by Roland E. Murphy, is written for serious clergy and for well-informed lay readers. This volume contains a sensible treatment of the text, buttressed by copious tech- nical notes and impressive annotated bibliographical mater- ials sufficient to stimulate and instruct the most avid student of this elusive segment of Scripture.

Publishers Description

What part of the canon raises more questions and offers more challenges for the Old Testament student than the Book of Ecclesiastes? "No other book in the Bible has so steadfastly defied analysis," Roland Murphy admits. Driven to their conclusions by presuppositions common to their own day, scholars have been unable to agree about almost every question pertaining to the writings of Qoheleth. To help us delve into this perplexing work, he offers this succinct but thorough commentary.

Here is a commentary written by a scholar's scholar from a man who has spent a lifetime immersed in Semitic language studies and who has enriched contemporary biblical studies as a professor, author, and editor with particular expertise in the field of Wisdom Literature.

Written for serious clergy and for well-informed lay readers, this volume contains a sensible treatment of the text, buttressed by copious technical notes and impressive annotated bibliographical materials sufficient to stimulate and instruct the most avid student of this elusive segment of Scripture.

Readers who have learned to appreciate the fine Word Biblical Commentary series will be pleased to find Dr. Murphy's insightful comments arranged in the same familiar format which facilitates a careful study of God's Word.

Roland Murphy's "Introduction" is, by itself perhaps, worth the price of this volume. Revealing vast knowledge of past and present studies on Ecclesiastes, this section of the commentary surveys the broad range of conflicting ideas about this book. Murphy irenically dissects all the major theories of authorship, dating, sociological setting, and linguistic analysis, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.

'The present commentary," Dr. Murphy tells us, "rests on the shoulders of previous scholars, while trying to remain faithful to the thought of Qoheleth." He has attempted a balanced interpretation between the absurd and the joyful-hallmarks of Qoheleth.

Why should we study an enigmatic work like Ecclesiastes? "Qoheleth has as much to say about the quality of faith as does any other biblical work," Dr. Murphy insists. "He tells us that faith means accepting God on God's terms." In the pages of this volume, Roland Murphy helps us to hear that important message.

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More About Roland Edmund Murphy

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Roland E. Murphy, O. Carm., (deceased 2002) was George Washington Ivey Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies of Duke University and adjunct at the Washington Theological Union. He was coeditor of the "New Jerome Biblical Commentary, " and wrote numerous articles, books, and commentaries.

Roland E. Murphy currently resides in the state of North Carolina. Roland E. Murphy has an academic affiliation as follows - Emeritus, The Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC Duke Univer.

Roland E. Murphy has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Forms of the Old Testament Literature

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Helpful treatment of Ecclesiastes despite some flaws  Oct 12, 2006
Roland Murphy is a professor of Biblical Studies at Duke University. This commentary on Ecclesiastes is part of the Word Biblical Commentary series, a semi-conservative series that is geared more for the scholar/serious student than a teaching pastor or layperson. Murphy's commentary on Ecclesiastes does not break this pattern.

Murphy writes his commentary with certain beliefs about the text and its background. Among these are:

The opening and closing pericopes, which describe Qoheleth as a wise king, reigning in Jerusalem, is fictional;

It was authored after the Babylonian captivity, after the Israelites returned to the land;

Ecclesiastes defies any attempts to classify its genre or outline its structure;

Its worldview is influenced by Egyptian and other Ancient Near East wisdom literature;

Ecclesiastes is not Christ-centered; attempts to learn about Christ via wisdom literature is wrong-headed.

The purpose of Ecclesiastes is to enter into dialogue with and critique other Israelite wisdom literature, including Job, Proverbs, and Sirach

Although I disagree with the majority of these beliefs, Murphy does a good job of analyzing and unpacking the text despite the above assumptions. He is intimately acquainted with the Hebrew and Aramaic and provides an excellent translation of the book. He also is skilled at pausing in the text, pointing out a statement made by Qoheleth, then comparing/contrasting it with the expected statement or worldview. Thus he is able to bring out the high level of emotion that must have been present when the book was originally authored.

Even still, there were aspects of this commentary that disappointed me. I was disappointed to find that Murphy does not share my conservative, Christocentric approach to Scripture. But even without these assumptions, Murphy would have done well to place a greater emphasis on structure. Instead of attempting to present an outline of Ecclesiastes, he instead views it as a meandering, stream-of-conscientiousness-esque work. Without a metanarrative in mind, Murphy does not reach forward and backward into the text in order to present Ecclesiastes as a unified whole. He presents a somewhat meandering, directionless commentary to reflect his view that Ecclesiastes is a meandering, directionless book.

Murphy ends with a significant epilogue that is essentially an introduction to wisdom literature. Here, he presents modern (1993) scholarship on wisdom literature concerning its origins, linguistic style, worldview, the interrelationship between Ancient Near East wisdom works, the personification of Wisdom, and a theological interpretation of wisdom literature. This reader found the epilogue interesting as it provides a framework for further studies in the Biblical wisdom writings. Mildly recommended.
mom for gin  Jul 7, 2005
thank you for sending the book so quickly. it is very helpful for my studies...I'm getting my Master's degree.

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