BR 10:02, Apr 1994
Dialogues with Kohelet: The Book of Ecclesiastes
T.A. Perry, translator and commentator
(Penn State Press, 1993), 225pp., $25.
Perry has written widely on the literature of the Jews in Spain, but has more recently turned his attention to the biblical Wisdom texts. Here he defends an intriguing hypothesis regarding the structure and message of Ecclesiastes. As the title indicates, Perry views the book as a set of dialogues between Kohelet (the preacher) and someone whom he calls the Presenter. It is unlikely that everything said in Ecclesiastes comes from one voice, since it usually offers two opinions on a subject. Kohelet presents himself, in Perrys words, as King (Solomon?), wealthy entrepreneur, anti-sage …