Thus Spoke the Preacher
By: Rudolph V. Vanterpool
About the Book
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
This startling beginning to the Book of Ecclesiastes has troubled and confused scholars for thousands of years. How could the Bible espouse such a nihilistic view of the life God has created for us? Rudolph V. Vanterpool examines this question forcefully and passionately in Thus Spoke the Preacher: Solomon’s Cosmic Gaze from Under the Sun.
Written by the wisdom-gifted King Solomon, Ecclesiastes is an important part of the Bible’s Wisdom literature. Solomon begins by probing the conclusions that people come to based upon their personal observations and knowledge. We are all filled with longings for peace and justice that this earthly world with its fleshly comforts cannot satisfy. If mortality is vanity, then how do we find meaning? By remembering that we are mortal beings from the standpoint of our temporal lives, our bodily existence is only a season while our indwelling soul never dies. When we turn our gaze from the world around us to the Heavenly realm, we will find the answer to our needs.
Thus Spoke the Preacher is no dry academic tome. Instead, it is a lively, personal, and searching study for God’s presence in our world. We have not been abandoned in a maze of despair. Solomon is not a prophet of doom – he is a prophet of hope, showing us the way out of existential cruelty. Solomon’s own writings on power, wealth, and the nature of death presage Jesus’ own teachings of our rightful place in the world. How to find meaning in a seemingly arbitrary world has plagued humanity for millennia. Vanterpool reminds us if we truly listen and really look, we will find our answer.
“Some scholars see philosophy and scripture as rivals, or opposing ways of pursuing truth. Not Rudolph V. Vanterpool. In his new book he combines philosophical insight with biblical exegesis, giving an expansive view of the wisdom articulated in the book of Ecclesiastes. Vanterpool draws on decades of reading the philosophical tradition as well as a range of biblical scholorship, popular Christian spirituality, and even an evident love for comic strips. Thus Spoke the Preacher will be illuminating for those on a philosophical path, those on the path of faith, and those for whom these two callings converge.”
- Dr. Brian Gregor, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, California State University, Dominguez Hills.
About the Author
Rudolph V. Vanterpool is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at CSU Dominguez Hills, Carson, California. He has served as Chair of the Department of Philosophy, and two consecutive terms as Chair of the campus’ Academic Senate. Additionally, during the period of his early retirement, he was appointed Chair of Africana Studies and Director of the Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding Program.
Vanterpool has published in both peer review journals and anthologies – including philosophy, ethics, jurisprudence, aesthetics, and philosophy of Religion. He is author of a biblical study, In Job’s Sandals: From Riches to Rags to Rewards, and Speak My Soul: Poems on Migrations and Returns of a Native Son. Vanterpool resides in Carson, California.