top of page

Heidegger's Bible Handbook: Ecclesiastes: Canonical Authority

3. The attempt of the ancient Jews, undertaking to hide the book. The Divine and Canonical Authority of the book.

The ancient monuments of the Jews, with our Most Celebrated Hottinger, Thesauro Philologico, book II, chapter 1, Section 3, serving as informer, bear witness, that the ancient Jews attempted לגנון, ἀποκρύπτειν, to hide, this book, or to reckon it among the apocryphal books: even indeed by this argument, that, as Maimonides speaks according to their mind, More Nevochim, book II, section 28, דבריו נוטים לדברי מינים, its words decline to heresy. But, with the matter more accurately weighed, the same changed their opinion, and restored the book to the canon, מפני שתחלתו דברי תורה וסופו דברי תורה, because they saw that its beginning and ending contain the words of the law. And certainly, although some opinions occur that appear, when read in passing, to promote carnal security: nevertheless, the same, when brought into harmony with the scope of the Author, pour forth an incredibly full sense of piety, and charge false goods with vanity, rather than obscure the true and highest good. Therefore, what is said, and in what way, is to be considered, and to be compared with the context. For it is uncivil, say the Lawyers, to select some particle of the law, without examining the whole law. Hence it is no impediment to the Divine authority of the book, if we read in it certain things that are not to be approved. For, with him reciting all opinions, both of his own judgment, and of that of carnal man, as Aristotle also did in his Nicomachean Ethics, it was necessary for it to happen, that he should posit certain things not at all approved, that is, out of the judgment of another. But the beginning and the ending of the book, as a certain κλεὶς τῆς γνώσεως, key of understanding, abundantly demonstrate the intention of the Author.


bottom of page