Course Description

Ecclesiastes will be studied in the context of the Writings and other wisdom literature, and in connection with the book’s reception history. By the end of the course students should be able to: understand the basic shape of the Writings; have a critical appreciation of the idea of wisdom literature; characterize some ancient and modern commentaries on Ecclesiastes; develop their own readings, supporting them with detailed exegesis.

  • Requirements: Weekly readings, weekly discussions, a creative presentation, a final paper.
  • Next offered in Summer 2024.

Required Texts (Summer 2024)*

Debra Band and Menachem Fisch. Qohelet: Searching for a Life Worth Living. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2023. ISBN: 9781481318730.
Order it from the publisher or Amazon.

Please note that textbook selections for my courses often change with each iteration of the course.

Dell 2023
Katharine J. Dell. The Lord by Wisdom Founded the Earth: Creation and Covenant in Old Testament Theology. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2023. ISBN: 9781481317047.
Order it from the publisher or Amazon.

Recommended in past versions of the class and still useful:

Barbour 2012
Jennie Barbour. The Story of Israel in the Book of Qohelet: Ecclesiastes as Cultural Memory. Oxford Theological Monographs. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
Order it in Canada or the USA. ISBN 978-0199657827.
Christianson 2007
Eric S. Christianson. Ecclesiastes through the Centuries. Blackwell Bible Commentaries. Malden, MA / Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2007 (paperback, 2012).
Get the Bibliography and some other matter from the Wiley Online Library.
See the generally useful Blackwell Bible Commentaries online resources.
Order the book in Canada or the USA. ISBN 978-0470674918.
Dell 2013
Katherine J. Dell. Interpreting Ecclesiastes: Readers Old and New. Critical Studies in the Hebrew Bible 3. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2013.
Order it in Canada or the USA. ISBN 978-1575062815.
Fox 2004
Michael V. Fox. Ecclesiastes: The Traditional Hebrew Text with the New JPS Translation. The JPS Bible Commentary. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2004.
Order it in Canada or the USA. ISBN 978-0827607422.

Recommended in all classes:

Making Sense
Northey, Margot, Bradford A. Anderson, and Joel N. Lohr. Making Sense in Religious Studies: A Student’s Guide to Research and Writing. 3rd ed. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 2019.
This title is optional but highly recommended. It includes basic advice on things like reading religious texts, writing essays and book reviews, making oral presentations, and learning languages. It should help you master fundamental tasks in nearly any course in religion or theology.
The SBL Handbook of Style, 2nd Edition, is the definitive style manual for biblical studies and related disciplines.
A blog ( and free Student Supplement (PDF) should cover the issues most common to term papers. The AST library copy is in the reference section at PN 147 S26 2014.
Serious students of biblical studies will want a copy of their own. Order one from SBL Press or elsewhere online. ISBN 978-1589839649.
See my resources page for further advice on writing, style, and research.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.