The Afterlife (or not) in Ecclesiastes

In my previous post I provided some comments on one of my favorite biblical books, Ecclesiastes.  Here I will continue my comments, with some remarks on the topic of the thread, the view of the afterlife in the book, a view unlike what you find in *most* of the Hebrew Bible.  Again, this is taken from my book God’s Problem.

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For the author of Ecclesiastes “traditional” wisdom (such as one finds in the book of Proverbs) was inherently flawed ...

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Ecclesiastes and the Meaning of Life

As I have been arguing, *most* of the authors of the Hebrew Bible who have anything to say about life after death believe that people go to Sheol – whether they are good or wicked, faithful or unfaithful.  It is the fate of all.  Different authors may have different views of what Sheol entails, but nowhere is it a place or reward or punishment for what one does (or believes) in this life.

A major exception seems to be the book ...

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Fear of Dying etc.: Weekly Readers Mailbag, September 18, 2016

What is my personal feeling toward death?  That’s the first of two questions in this weeks’ Readers’ Mailbag!

QUESTION:

How do you feel about dying? Is that not in some part terrifying?  And us losing our loved ones forever? How do you get over that?

 

RESPONSE:

Ah, how do I feel about dying?  In general, I’m against it.  🙂

But do I find the prospect terrifying?  I would say that over the years I have had different attitudes toward death.  I suppose when I was ...

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The Resurrection in Paul

I have been discussing an apocalyptic understanding of Jesus’ resurrection.  For the earliest followers of Jesus, coming to think that Jesus was raised from the dead provided both a confirmation and an elaboration of their understanding of the end times.  Prior to Jesus’ death they had come to think that they were living at the end of the age and that God was soon to bring history to a climactic end through a cataclysmic act of judgment; this final event ...

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Jesus’ Death and Resurrection in Mark

Here is my final post on Mark, following a literary-historical method. After this post I’ll have a reflection or two on the method, and then talk in much briefer fashion about other methods one might use to study the Gospels.

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Jesus’ Death as the Son of God

It is clear from Mark’s Gospel that Jesus’ disciples never do come to understand who he is. As we have seen, he is betrayed to the Jewish authorities by one of them, ...

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