Qohelet and His ‘Vulgar’ Critics: A Jamesonian Reading

Mark Sneed


Scholars who read Qohelet from a sociological perspective often assume that the book should simply reflect the milieu in which it was produced: the sombre character of the book simply mirrors the anomy of the turbulent, Ptolemaic period. This is known as ‘vulgar Marxism’, i.e., the superstructure is completely determined by the infrastructure, never the reverse. In contrast, this essay will employ the more sophisticated Marxist approach of Fredric Jameson. Utilising his method, I will argue that the book’s scepticism and pessimism are the means the author utilises to imaginatively resolve contemporary societal tensions.


Fredric Jameson; Qoheleth; Marxist biblical criticism

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391