Original Research

Transformative joy in Qohelet: A thread that faintly glistens

Annalie E. Steenkamp-Nel
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 3 | a5126 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i3.5126 | © 2019 Annalie Erika Steenkamp-Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 May 2018 | Published: 23 January 2019

About the author(s)

Annalie E. Steenkamp-Nel, Department of Christian Spirituality, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Qohelet prompted a rich body of work reflecting the breadth of the Old Testament book’s appeal. Few, however, interpret Qohelet’s spiritual dimension, incarnated in life. I will opt to offer an overarching framework that holds the book together and that was until now absent in the discourse on Qohelet. It will be argued that spiritual transformation provides a fruitful theoretical framework for Qohelet. I will indicate that Qohelet undertook a spiritual journey in which his experiences fostered profound spiritual transformation, and ultimately a new paradigm leapfrogging old spiritual infrastructure and choices. The framework that evolved from this effort delineates four phases, stages or movements. In order to provide clarity and enhance understanding of this concept, the analysis will be done on the basis of the leitwort (or keyword) ‘joy’. The findings point to the importance of spiritual transformation, directing readers towards a new spirituality. The article concludes with suggestions on future directions regarding Qohelet as a ‘bridge book’ to the New Testament.


Joy; Spiritual; Transformation; Qohelet


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