The Book of Ecclesiastes is part of the "wisdom literature" of the Bible. It concerns itself with universal philosophical questions rather than events in the history of Israel and in the Hebrews' covenant with God. Koheleth, the speaker in this book, ruminates on what-if anything-has lasting value, and how-if at all-God interacts with humankind. Koheleth expresses bewilderment and frustration at life's absurdities and injustices. He grapples with the inequities that pervade the world and the frailty and limitations of human wisdom and righteousness. His awareness of these discomfiting facts coexists with a firm belief in God's rule and God's fundamental justice, and he looks for ways to define a meaningful life in a world where so much is senseless. Ecclesiastes is traditionally read on the Jewish holiday Sukkot, the harvest festival.
Michael V. Fox received his rabbinical ordination from Hebrew Union College, USA. He received a PhD in Bible, Semitics, and Egyptology from the Hebrew University, Israel. He is currently Halls-Bascom Professor of Hebrew at the University of Wisconsin, USA.