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This commentary on Ecclesiastes is part of the technically oriented International Critical Commentary. Originally written in 1912 this commentary is outdated, but is still considered useful by scholars because of its insight into linguistic and textual issues. The verse by verse commentary does attempt to bring out the meaning of the text based on Barton's scholarly work, and would be useful to any student or scholar interested in Ecclesiastes.
Ecclesiastes is at once a strange book and a modern one, at once enigmatic and curiously familiar. Here we find a man detached from the world and yet intensely aware of it, setting down in writing his thoughts about human life. Yet from the very first his readers have been unable to agree about his basic attitude to life. Whybray sorts through the options by asking questions regarding the author, his times, his language and his ideas.