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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


SPANGENBERG, Izak (Sakkie) J. J.. Psalm 73 and the book of Qoheleth. Old testam. essays [online]. 2016, vol.29, n.1, pp.151-175. ISSN 2312-3621.

The author of Ps 73 and the author of Qoheleth both underwent experiences that did not accord with the traditional wisdom paradigm. The author of Qoheleth stated that he saw how the righteous suffered an early death while the wicked grew old (Qoh 7:15). The author of Ps 73 saw how impious folks experienced health, wealth and prosperity, while he "kept his heart pure and his hands clean" (Ps 73:13). Both authors tried to come to terms with these contradictions in life. One wrote a whole book, the other a poem, and both of them made use of quotations to argue their case. However, while the author of Qoheleth undermined the traditional wisdom paradigm, the author of Ps 73 tried to keep it intact. The author of Qoheleth concluded that nothing made sense; everything was futile, especially if the doctrine of retribution is used as a benchmark. The author of Ps 73, on the other hand, followed another route. He redefined the outcomes of shalom. In doing this, he successfully kept the traditional wisdom paradigm intact.

Keywords : aphorism; wisdom saying; wisdom paradigm; doubt; impious folks; pious Israelite; Psalm of Asaph; Qoheleth; doctrine of retribution.

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