Such Is Life!: A Close Encounter with Ecclesiastes

By Meek, Russell | Anglican Theological Review, Summer 2011 | Go to article overview

Such Is Life!: A Close Encounter with Ecclesiastes


Meek, Russell, Anglican Theological Review


Such Is Life!: A Close Encounter with Ecclesiastes. By Lloyd Geering. Salem, Ore.: Polebridge Press, 2010. 212 pp. $20.00 (paper).

The unique genre and literary style of Eeclesiastes lends itself to creative interpretations. Lloyd Geering provides readers with a fictional dialogue with the author of Eeclesiastes in which he draws upon multiple philosophical and theological traditions in an effort to relate the significance of Eeclesiastes to an authence separated by significant time and space. Geering, who has been called "die last Western heretic," is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He has written numerous books and is a frequent lecturer on topics of religion.

Geering uses the fictional dialogue between die author of Eeclesiastes, whom Geering refers to as "Eeclesiastes," to present his own views on topics such as humanism, the secularization of society, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and responsible care for the earth. The dialogue is divided into Geering's words, the text of Eeclesiastes, and Geering's ideas of what Eeclesiastes might have said if given the opportunity.

Geering's translation differs significantly from all modern translations, as well as the Hebrew text. For example, he uses the word "Nature" to translate "God" (ehhim) throughout the book. He bases his translation on what he sees as early strains of humanism and empiricism in Eeclesiastes, arguing that if Hebrew had a word for nature, then Eeclesiastes would have used it. This argument is spurious, lacking botii textual and scholarly support, and would require evidence beyond Geering's claim mat Eeclesiastes reflects modern concepts. …

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