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Qohelet's Philosophies of Death

Imray, Kathryn (2009) Qohelet's Philosophies of Death. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis arises at the meeting place of a philosophical and a thanatological treatment of the book of Qohelet. A philosophical treatment is defended on the grounds of previous studies of the type of thinking evidenced in the text, as well as a comparison with ancient notions of philosophy which suggest that philosophy concerns the type of questions asked, the method of answering the questions, the answers to the questions, and the purpose of the endeavour. A thanatological treatment is defended both on the grounds of previous studies of the text as well as on the grounds of clear evidence that the text is very concerned with the issue of death. From a philosophical perspective it is assumed the book says something about such themes as beauty, knowledge, states of being, ethics, and the benefits of a philosophical outlook. These philosophical categories are combined with the text’s thanatology. The thesis therefore presents: a death aesthetic, in which death can be beautiful; an epistemology of death, in which we are shown to possess certain knowledge of our own mortality in contrast to the lack of understanding we possess about the events of life; a phenomenology of death, or a study of the state of being dead, in which it is seen that death can only ever be the object of our gaze, and we can never experience our own death; an ethics of death, or more precisely an ethics of suicide, in which it is asked, if suicide is appropriate, under what conditions it is better to be dead than alive; and, finally, the death-based nature of the philosophy itself, in which it is seen that one cannot be wise without thinking on death, and that such thoughts confer a particular sort of life on the wise person.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Supervisor(s): Boorer, Suzanne
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