From the very first,
An orderly account
Most excellent Theophilus!”
ἔδοξε κἀμοὶ παρηκολουθηκότι ἄνωθεν πᾶσιν ἀκριβῶς καθεξῆς σοι γράψαι, κράτιστε Θεόφιλε,
Luke got personal. He said that after he had investigated or became acquainted with everything from the very first (παρηκολουθηκότι ἄνωθεν πᾶσιν). In other words, Luke had studied these issues. He, or as he wrote, it seemed good to him (ἔδοξε κἀμοὶ), decided to write an orderly careful account (ἀκριβῶς καθεξῆς σοι γράψαι) to the most excellent Theophilus (κράτιστε Θεόφιλε). Luke used the second personal singular to address Theophilus as “you”. Who was this Theophilus? The name means literally, lover or friend of God. This may be a name to include all people who love or are friendly with God. However, it may also be a highly literate Christian Roman official, since he is called most excellent (κράτιστε), which is a title of honor. In any case, the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:1, was also addressed to him. Most of the educated Romans were fluent in Greek.
Canon criticism is relatively new to biblical criticism. Two major schools exist. One takes the final canon as normative for discovering God’s word to his people. Thus, this final form of the biblical documents should be vigorously analyzed and studied, in order to perceive keys to understanding the sacred texts. Another school of thought stresses the authority of the various canonical stages of these historical documents, as well as their final shape. Thus, the process of canonization itself helps give us insights about the texts as they developed in the various church communities.
The Vulgate Bible (382-384 CE) was the inspired true word of God in an incomprehensible Latin, the language of the educated people. The biblical texts appeared in scarce manuscript form in the Middle Ages. Few people had access to read the Bible, because most were illiterate. Most people were content to glean the Bible stories from paintings, stain glass windows, passion plays, and preaching. There was never any question as to its interpretation since the educated Church leaders, who had studied the Bible, pronounced what the correct traditional understanding of the Bible was.
“Besides being wise,
Qoheleth also taught the people knowledge.
He weighed many proverbs.
He studied many proverbs.
He arranged many proverbs.
Qoheleth sought to find pleasing words.
He wrote words of truth plainly.”
Now we have a description, eulogy, or explanation of Qoheleth by another author in this epilogue. Qoheleth was wise. He taught the people knowledge. He studied and arranged many of the proverbs in this book. He weighted their value. But as we have seen most were useless vanity. He wanted to find pleasing words as he had a good literary Hebrew style. He spoke plain truth. There was nothing fancy about his work.