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Michael Carasik

Abstract

Ch. 12 of Ecclesiastes depicts a scene that combines elements of the death of a person with others that describe the death of an entire world. Vladimir Nabokov's novel Invitation to a Beheading ends with a similar scene. Both Nabokov's writings and his biography suggest that he shared Qohelet's view of life "under the sun" as hevel, but his own experience as a creator led him to believe that there is a higher-order reality than our own. The literary technique described here was Nabokov's attempt to show how one might cross the boundary into that higher reality. With a particular focus on Nabokov's novel Pale Fire, I will argue that the parallel to Ecclesiastes suggests that the writer of Eccl. 12:9-14 was also the writer of that entire book, who chose to drop the persona of Qohelet at the end of his book and speak as himself, to burst through the boundaries of death (in 12:7) and offer a view of the world that the Qohelet persona could not perceive.

Michael Carasik

In Job 1:20, Job performs four actions:

1) he rends his garment; 2) he shears his head; 3) he falls to the ground; and 4) he prostrates himself.

The third of these can be read either (with the first two) as an act of mourning or (with the last) as an act of worship. I suggest that this is a deliberate literary choice: the poetic technique of Janus parallelism. Since Janus parallelism has already been demonstrated to be both frequent in the book of Job and significant for its meaning, this unexpected Janus parallelism in the prose portion of the book confirms that those chapters are not an early survival but a creation of the author of the book as a whole.