The Bible

The Scope of Wisdom: An Examination of Proverbs 20 and Ecclesiastes 1

Ecclesiastes and Proverbs both strive to examine wisdom and faith but approach these subjects on varying levels of existence. The individual person is approached differently in the two books, which enter into a dynamic discourse on the pursuit of understanding. Proverbs strives to instruct God's creations, human beings, as they dwell on earth. But Ecclesiastes expands its scope to eradicate details like individual people. As though it is responding to the clunky instruction-book quality of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes poetically dismisses the insignificant concerns of mortal man. Its fatalistic, frustrated pondering is often in direct opposition to Proverbs hopeful warnings and calm faith. Proverbs is occupied by common, daily acts. Its subjects are earthbound and the language has a kind of familiar physicality that makes it accessible and penetrable. Ecclesiastes, on the other hand, dedicates itself to larger spaces with sweeping generalizations and all-encompassing terms. It is as though Ecclesiastes addresses the framework containing the subjects of Proverbs. This framework is the web of eternity, operating in cycles that consume the brief linear existences of Proverbs' individual subjects. The linearity of Proverbs...

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