Koheleth and Camus: Is everything absurd?

Bernie Bulkin

01/07/2020 4:00 pm
Via Zoom, Online Course

Koheleth and Camus: Is everything absurd?

Reading Koheleth (Ecclesiastes) and Albert Camus (The Myth of Sisyphus) together

With Bernie Bulkin

Three online classes on Wednesday 1 July, Wednesday 8 July and Wednesday 15 July at 4pm (British Summer Time)


Utter futility! -said Koheleth – Utter futility! All is futile.    Koheleth 1:1

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.   Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.  All the rest…. comes afterwards.  Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

Koheleth is the closest the Bible comes to philosophy.  It asks fundamental questions about whether we can find meaning in our existence.  More than 2000 years later, Albert Camus and other existentialist philosophers tackled the same problem.  These sessions scrutinise the key texts in Koheleth and how these difficult questions were examined by Camus in his famous essay, The Myth of Sisyphus.  Ultimately both Koheleth and Camus tried to find a way out of the absurdity of a life that must end in death.

No previous knowledge of either text is required.  It will be useful to have a copy of Koheleth (any translation) available.  Excerpts from Camus will be presented and discussed, but participants are encouraged to read the opening essay and the section on the Myth of Sisyphus.  A pdf version is available at http://dhspriory.org/kenny/PhilTexts/Camus/Myth%20of%20Sisyphus-.pdf

Three sessions of 45 minutes each.  Participants will have the opportunity to raise questions or points for discussion.

To register, email info@jewishbookweek.com.

Bernie Bulkin

Bernie Bulkin is a scientist, businessman, author, and educator.  He created the course Learning from Texts for adult students at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, spanning textual material from biblical times to the 20th century.  His books include Crash Course (2015) and Solving Chemistry (2019).  He is emeritus Professorial Fellow of Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge.