Life is Vapor – Rejoice!

Commenting on Ecclesiastes in general, Peter Leithart writes:

…the exhortation to joy, feasting and productive labor is inferred from the fact that life is vaporous and short. Joy is not a contradiction to the reality of a vaporous world; joy is the “fitting”┬áresponse┬áto a vaporous world. This is neither Stoic resignation nor Epicurean hedonism. Epicurean “joy” is a desperate whistling past the graveyard, a hedonism haunted by the realization that the world is under no one’s control. Epicurean joy is finally tragic joy. Solomonic joy is a hedonism that arises from the confidence that the world is always under Yaweh’s control. Solomon is saying that the world itself teaches us that it is not under our control, but Solomon adds the implication that the world is under God’s control. Instead of chafing at our finitude and yearning to be as gods, Solomon counsels that we rejoice in our limits and in all the vaporous life that we are given.

– Deep Comedy

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