What/Who on earth is Qohelet?

*This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see  this.

Qohelet is the protagonist of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew Bible. In some (older) English translations, including ESV, KJV, ASV, RSV, and WEB, the word “Qohelet” is translated as “the Preacher.” In some other translations, such as NIV and NRSV, the word appears as “the Teacher.” Additionally and unusually, Good News Bible (GNB) takes the word as the “Philosopher,” and Common English Bible (CEB) as “the Teacher of Assembly.” Among the translations, the most well-known designation is the “Preacher.” But Qohelet is not really a preacher or a teacher in the sense that we usually understand the terms. Perhaps, Qohelet could be seen as a teacher, since his writing, known as Ecclesiastes, is edifying after all. But the Hebrew word, “Qohelet,” does not mean “teacher.” Also, we do not call every speaking subject who provides moral and intellectual lessons teacher.

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Ecclesiastes Translation Series (10): “your creator” (Eccl 12:1)

Remember your creator in the days of your youth

NRSV Eccl 12:1

According to Gen 1:1, God created the heavens and the earth. Christians and Jews all believe that God is the creator of the universe. So, there seem to be no substantial problems or issues to discuss on the term “your creator” in Eccl 12:1. But if you read the Hebrew text of the verse, there certainly are some issues. 

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도대체 코헬렛이 누구야?

*이 포스트는 지난 2017년에 우리말과 영어 버전을 묶어 하나로 게시했었고, 지금은 두 개로 나누었습니다. 영어 버전은 여기를 참고해 주세요

1. 코헬렛은 히브리어성서에 있는 전도서라는 책의 주인공이다. 대한성서공회에서 발행한 전도서의 우리말 번역에서 “코헬렛”은 주로 “전도자”로 표현하고 있으며 “설교자”라는 표현도 볼 수 있다. 우리말 성경에서 이 책의 제목을 “전도서”로 지은 것은 과거 이 글의 번역자들이 주인공의 호칭을 “전도자”로 이해했기 때문인데 이 본문을 읽어본 사람이라면 누구나 이 “전도자” 혹은 “전도서”라는 단어가 이 난해하고 복잡한 본문과 그 주인공을 적절히 나타내는 말이 아님을 쉽게 알아차릴 수 있다.

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