Pitfalls of anachronistic analysis: the book of Ecclesiastes, meaning of life and meaning in life





methods of historiography of philosophy, meaningfulness, meaningless, hăḇêl hăḇālîm, untranslatability


The article carries out a critical analysis of Arthur Kiefer's methodology (described in the “Ecclesiastes and the meaning of life in the ancient world”, Cambridge University Press, 2022), namely his concept of “meaning of life” applied to the analysis of the book of Ecclesiastes. The core argument made here is that the “threefold conceptual scheme” of the meaning of life, borrowed from the field of empirical psychological research (coherence – purpose – significance), cannot be effective in the analysis of theological or philosophical texts, which involve a high level of generalization. On the other hand, since the concept of “meaning of life” is absent from the language of Ecclesiastes and other ancient texts, and its own meaning is extremely vague, it is unable to play the role of a useful analytical tool.


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How to Cite

Chukhrai, E. (2022). Pitfalls of anachronistic analysis: the book of Ecclesiastes, meaning of life and meaning in life. Sententiae, 41(3), 75–90. https://doi.org/10.31649/sent41.03.75






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