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Times as Task, Not Timing: Reconsidering Qoheleth’s Catalogue of the Times

Peterson, Jesse M. (2021) 'Times as Task, Not Timing: Reconsidering Qoheleth’s Catalogue of the Times.', Vetus Testamentum .


This essay examines Qoheleth’s Catalogue of the Times poem in Eccl 3:2–8. I argue that the two most common scholarly interpretations of the poem’s overall meaning fail to sufficiently account for its literary context and that an underdeveloped alternative reading is to be preferred. When we read the poem in light of two other closely related passages, 1:4–11 and 3:9–15, it becomes clear that a poem ostensibly about “time” is much less concerned with “timing” than is typically thought, but instead signifies Qoheleth’s frustration with the inevitable equilibrating tendency embedded into every human task.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:10 February 2022
Date of first online publication:11 November 2021
Date first made open access:10 February 2022

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