Qoheleth and the Cross: Back and Forth with Jürgen Moltmann and Peter Enns
Coombe, Cameron Daniel
The book of Ecclesiastes has often endured an existence at the margins of Christian faith. Interestingly, a theologian known precisely for his interest in retrieving the marginal, Jürgen Moltmann, has all but overlooked the theological value of this text, tending to treat it as a counterexample to the Christian life of hope, rather than grappling with its fundamental themes. But there is much that Ecclesiastes can offer Moltmann’s theology, and much in Moltmann’s theology that is amenable to a faithfully Christian interpretation of Ecclesiastes, particularly with respect to its value in voicing suffering in the Christian life. This article first provides an outline of Moltmann’s basic rejection of Ecclesiastes. It then offers an overview of the outlook of Ecclesiastes’s main voice, Qoheleth, drawing on Peter Enns’s commentary. Next, it outlines the biblical-theological significance Enns accords to Ecclesiastes in the reflections that follow his exegesis. Finally, it revisits Ecclesiastes in the context of Moltmann’s theology, demonstrating the commonalities between the two and contending that this biblical text can positively contribute to Moltmann’s Christology. Also included here is a letter by Moltmann written in response to the article.
Publisher: The Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools
Keywords: Ecclesiastes; Jürgen Moltmann; Peter Enns; Christology; biblical theology
Research Type: Journal Article