in JPS Bible Commentary

by Michael V. Fox

4.5 Rank Score: 4.9 from 2 reviews, 1 featured collections, and 5 user libraries
Pages 87
Publisher Jewish Publication Society of America
Published 2004
ISBN-13 9780827607422


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A mature scholar of Hebrew wisdom literature provides a readable commentary with much of value in the history of Jewish interpretation. [Full Review]
Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2004. Pp. xxxviii + 87. Cloth. $34.95. ISBN 0827607423. Thomas M. Bolin Saint Norbert College De Pere, Wisconsin Michael V. Fox is no stranger to the book of Ecclesiastes. For the past generation, his has been a significant voice in the book’s exegesis. This deceptively slim volume represents at once both a tour de force of a seasoned scholar’s years of reading Ecclesiastes and a fitting entry point for any new reader of this fascinating biblical book. In his introduction (ix–xxxv) Fox takes up the requisite issues of the authorship, dating, and the book’s place in ancient wisdom literature, Jewish tradition, and modern scholarship. He also includes a bibliography and valuable discussions of Jewish interpretations of Ecclesiastes spanning two millennia, in addition to a selection of modern biblical scholarship. Besides commentaries by “the usual suspects” in Qohelet 1scholarship, Fox also includes the fifteen-page treatment of the book in Martin Hengel’s Hellenism and Judaism (2 vols.; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974), 1:115–30, on which Fox will base much of his argument for Ecclesiastes’ Hellenistic milieu. Fox takes a cautious approach concerning any direct dependence of Ecclesiastes on similar literatures from within and outside of Israel, noting that if Ecclesiastes betrays any 1. I.e., G. A. Barton, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Ecclesiastes (ICC; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1908); H. Ginsberg, Koheleth (Jerusalem: Newman, 1961); R. E. Murphy, Ecclesiastes (WBC; Waco, Tex: Word, 1992); C. L. Seow, Ecclesiastes (AB 18C; New York: Doubleday, 1997); M. V. Fox, A Time to Tear Down and A Time to Build Up: A Rereading of Ecclesiastes (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999). [Full Review]