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Wisdom for Ministry: Contemporary theological impetuses of Ecclesiastes

With its confronting existential expressions of life, Ecclesiastes represents a radical source of theological engagement and wisdom for Christian faith and practice. The foci of Ecclesiastes have a profound resonance with contemporary foci of human experience. This unit aims to correlate theological themes and existential tonalities of Ecclesiastes with a contemporary theological method that is applicable to ministry practices.

Lecturer: Refer to Timetable
Offered: Refer to Timetable

Undergraduate: Level 3
Postgraduate: Level 9

Discipline: CT Systematic Theology


Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. To develop an appreciation for the theological and literary character of Ecclesiastes
  2. To articulate the relevance of Ecclesiastes for contemporary expressions of interpreting life experience, forming values and articulating meaning
  3. To identify within Ecclesiastes, wisdom textures for contemporary ministry practice
  4. To evaluate the literary style of Ecclesiastes and from this to ascertain theological themes for creative contemporary expressions of Christian identity
  5. (Postgraduate) To stimulate further exploratory interest in biblical wisdom for contemporary engagement and expression.
  6. To stimulate research interest in biblical wisdom for contemporary engagement and expression


1 x 750 word reading review 15%
3 x 600 word document studies 45%
1 x 2000 word essay 40%

1 x 1500 word reading review 25%
2 x 750 document studies 25%
1 x 3000 word essay 50%

Select Bibliography:

*Recommended reading

Christianson, ES Ecclesiastes throughout the Centuries, Singapore: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

Terry Eagleton, T After Theory, London et al.: Penguin, 2004.

___________, Hope without Optimism, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015.

___________, Culture, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016.

Gilkey, L Message and Existence: An Introduction to Christian Theology, Eugene Or.: Wipf & Stock, 1999.

Janzen, JL “Qohelet on ‘Life under the sun’”, CBQ 70 (2008): 465-483.

Jenson, RW On Thinking the Human: Resolutions of Difficult Notions, Grand Rapids & Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2003.

*Kolakowski, L Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? : Questions From Great Philosophers, trans. Agnieszka Kolakowska, London: Penguin, 2008.

Limburg, J Encountering Ecclesiastes: A Book for Our Time, Grand Rapids & Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2006.

Nagel, T Mortal Questions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Nietzsche, F Human, All too Human, London: Penguin, 1994.

Pascal, B Pensées and Other Writings, trans. Honor Levi, ed. with an Introduction and Notes by Anthony Levi. Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 1995.

Perry, TA Dialogue with Kohelet: The Book of Ecclesiastes, Translation and Commentary University Park, Pen.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993.

Scruton, R On Human Nature, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2017.

Sneed, M The Politics of Permission in Ecclesiastes: A Social-Science Perspective, Atlanta: SBL, 2012.

Wittgenstein, L Culture and Value, trans. Peter Winch, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984.