“Word Play” in Qoheleth


  • Scott B. Noegel




This study offers a comprehensive treatment of the subject of “word play” in the book of Qoheleth. After discussing the problematic nature of the term “word play,” and explaining my preference for the word “punning,” I examine six different types of punning found in Qoheleth. The first, focuses on alliteration, or the repeated use of consonants. The second section collects examples of assonance, or the repeated use of vowel patterns. The third section focuses on illustrations of polysemy; cases in which words bear more than one meaning in a single context. The fourth section, which is related to polysemy, details cases of antanaclasis. Antanaclasis occurs when a word is used multiple times, but with different meanings. In the fifth section, I provide examples of allusive punning, i.e., the use of words or forms that imply by way of similarity of sound another word that does not occur in the text. The sixth section is devoted to instances of numerical punning. After providing the data for each of these devices, I offer some general observations on punning in Qoheleth.




How to Cite

Noegel, S. B. (2009). “Word Play” in Qoheleth. The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, 7. https://doi.org/10.5508/jhs.2007.v7.a4