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How Can Qohelet Quell the Curious Mind? An Exploration of a New Translation and Commentaries on the Strangest Book of the Hebrew Bible

Hosted By: Valley Beit Midrash

Merest Breath is a provocative and contemporary translation with two new commentaries on Qohelet (Ecclesiastes). These eclectic commentaries on one of the strangest books of the Hebrew Bible open up an ancient wisdom text that dares to address theological skepticism of the present. Understanding Qohelet as resisting biblical theological platitudes about sin, prayer, and forgiveness, these commentaries are a magisterial conversation between thinkers ancient and modern – from Heraclitus to Leonard Cohen – that dares to think differently. Martin Cohen’s new translation and introductory commentary (Kol ha-Tor) is in conversation with Aubrey Glazer’s philosophical interpretations (Ruah ha-Orev) – ranging from Hebraic stoicism and skepticism to an exploration of the diverse interpretations in philosophical (Samuel Ben Judah Ibn Tibbon, Gersonides, David Hume, Theodor W. Adorno, Emmanuel Lévinas) kabbalistic (Zohar, Bahir) and Hasidic (Ba’al Shem Tov, R. Nachman of Bratzlav, R. Meshulem Faish ben Mordekhai Levi, R. Aharon Yosef Luria) commentaries – that enable Qohelet to re-emerge anew as a theological empiricist. Rediscover Qohelet as the remarkable Hebrew ironist who points seekers of truth to life’s dialectical dance between melancholia and joy.

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