In Reason for Being, the creative theologian and sociologist Jacques Ellul--whom John Goldingay described as "unexcelled as a theological exegete of the Old Testament" among twentieth-century thinkers--invites readers directly to the heart of his engagement with the biblical text. Intended as his concluding "last word," Ellul here distills a half-century of careful meditations on Ecclesiastes into a moving treatise on wisdom, vanity, and the presence of God.
Ellul follows the narrator, Qohelet, on an ironic path to the limits of human wisdom, a path which ends with wisdom's recognition of its own vanity. This would lead to despair over the meaninglessness of our accomplishments and our very lives--if not for the surprising presence of God, who shows up when we least expect it. In the poetic prose of translator Joyce Main Hanks, Ellul's Reason for Being resounds as an arresting interrogation, an invitation to honest self-examination, and a challenge to free dialogue with God here and now.