Janus Sayings: A Linking Device in Qoheleth's Discourse

Katharine Dell, Tova Forti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Qoheleth's apparent lack of internal coherence was not lost on the ancient rabbis, and is still a recurring issue in modern scholarship. Attempts at both structural and thematic reconstructions of the shape of the Ecclesiastes text are popular amongst modern scholars, but no real agreement has been reached. Scholars are divided: there are those who assume a self-contained intellectual work with a progressive inner structure, and those who believe that Qoheleth is a loose collection of separate units. The main concern of this paper is to discern a rhetorical phenomenon labelled a Janus saying, i.e. an aphorism that looks forward and backward, both structurally and thematically, and to evaluate its syntactical and thematic setting within Qoheleth's teaching as a linking device.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-128
Number of pages14
JournalZeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Mar 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Religious studies


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