“For the great task of Ecclesiastes is to expose the dynamic at work behind service to the powers, the pursuit of meaning and self-esteem through the cultural hero system. Who is Oz, the force behind the curtain pulling the levers of achievement, reputation, significance, and self-esteem? What Ecclesiastes shows us, in pulling back the curtain, is exactly what Ernest Becker has shown us: death is the force in the background driving the show.” “Because of this Ecclesiastes talks a lot about death. And for a culture dominated by a denial of death that topic can seem morbid and depressing. But think about how death is being used in Ecclesiastes. Death is being deployed to show the futility of the self-esteem project, that idolatry is, at root, a service to the angel of death. Ecclesiastes isn’t about existentialism and angst. Ecclesiastes is interested in smashing idols. Ecclesiastes is interested in exorcism, purging our soul of death-oriented spiritual strivings. Ecclesiastes is trying to get us to stand with St. Paul and declare that the self-esteem project is one big pile of ‘rubbish’:”

March 21, 2012

bible / ecclesiastes / hebrew-bible / richard-beck / theology

Experimental Theology: The Slavery of Death: Part 26, Ecclesiastes as Exorcism