Rashbam's understanding of the Carpe Diem passages in Qoheleth

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The Carpe Diem passages ("calls to pleasure") in the Book of Qoheleth (2:24-26;3:12-13;8:15;9:7-10;11:7-10) are units in which the writer calls upon man to "live the moment": to eat, drink, see the good of his labor, and make the most of what the present has to offer. These passages aroused considerable discomfort among the medieval commentators. Against the background of the commentaries of Rashi and Ibn Ezra, Rashbam offers a unique understanding of these recommendations. He does not try to nullify these recommendations, nor does he reject the pleasures that they laud. On the contrary, he views the calls to pleasure as an expression of man's obligation to enjoy life in this world and to rejoice in it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-46
Number of pages20
JournalRevue des Études Juives
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


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