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The book of Ecclesiastes is the result of a long process of interpretation; it is a booklet of wisdom that has gone through two important and successive remodelings. However, at each stage of its transmission the work’s global structure can be studied. The study’s first part expounds the inital booklet which is the work of the master of a school of wisdom during the Persian era (5th century B.C.), called »Qoheleth the Wise«. A first rereading modifies the book in a fundamental way: it sets its pessimistic key of interpretation at the very beginning in 1, 2, and continues in that manner which can be explained by the chaotic situation of the first decades of the Hellenistic period. The second rereading proposes the following solution for the tension thus brought about between the praise of joy and the profound pessimism: It attributes any negative aspects exclusively to the world of humanity and places all hopes in God and eternity. This corresponds with theological tendencies expressed in the latter part of the 3rd century B.C.