Original Research

Axiological assumptions in Qohelet: A historical-philosophical clarification

Jaco W. Gericke
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 33, No 1 | a515 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v33i1.515 | © 2012 Jaco W. Gericke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 April 2011 | Published: 23 February 2012

About the author(s)

Jaco W. Gericke, North-West University (Vaal Triangle Campus), South Africa


The article has as its working hypothesis the proposal that the Book of Ecclesiastes has axiology as its main concern. All interest in reality, knowledge and morality can be interpreted as being subsumed under the primary obsession, which is value (and the lack thereof). In support of this theory the article ventures a brief descriptive philosophical elucidation of Qoheleth’s folk-axiological assumptions by way of a clarification of his ideas about goodness against the backdrop of various categories in value theory. The study concludes with the suggestion that perhaps the central claim of the book should also be understood as an axiological rather than as an epistemological or existential claim. Qoheleth’s problem is not meaninglessness or incomprehension but worthlessness.


Ecclesiastes; Value theory; goodness


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