Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type



Graduate School of Theology

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Mark W. Hamilton

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Melinda Thompson

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

John T. Willis


This thesis is an attempt to discover what Qohelet may have had in mind when he used the term "yapeh" Qohelet does not present his theory of aesthetics in an overt way, but it may be possible to infer what he could have in mind via analysis of his text. Beauty for Qohelet is something that he experiences firsthand, rather than a concept or principle one could memorize and then have at one's service, such as a mathematical concept "2+2-4." Beauty for Qohelet is something which comes from God, but it appears that God gives the gift of beauty to humans as he chooses, irrespective of their relative merits or lack of them. What is beautiful for Qohelet may be an answer to his original question in 1:3, in which he sets out to discover what is "profit " (yitron), or the best way human beings can spend their time while living. Abundance of such "profit" (yirton] may be a God-given experience of cosmic harmony or beauty, as described by 3:11 and 5:17-19. The terms "hebel" and "ra' " present a foil to such harmony or order as Qohelet explores different possible answers to his initial question in 1:3. Although Qohelet does seem to identify various actions or events as "beautiful" (e.g., 3:11, 5:17-18), the ethical value of those activities and events is neutralized for different reasons. First, such activities or events in their respective times are gifts from God. Second, in some cases people may not be aware that such beauty is a gift from God. Finally, the beautiful events described by 3:2-8, 11 are simply unavoidable realities of human life, things all human beings will experience. Ultimately, beauty for Qohelet is a matter of pleasure and pain, not ethical right or wrong.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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