If we gave this book an English title, it might be “The Teaching.”

But we don’t. We hang onto the Greek title: ekklesiates. That’s odd because the book wasn’t written in Greek. It was written in Hebrew.

The Hebrew word is Koheleth. That’s what the writer calls himself: Koheleth. Unfortunately, no one is certain what Koheleth means. The root word, khl, means “to assemble.” So scholars often guess that koheleth means “the assembler,” as in someone who assembles knowledge or who assembles a class of students. That’s why most modern Bible versions translate Koheleth as “the Teacher.”

About 200 years before Christ, Greek-speaking Jews translated their sacred Hebrew writings into Greek-the main language of the day. Koheleth became ekklesiastes, the Greek word for “the one of the assembly.”

When Christians scholars started translating the Bible into other languages-such as the Roman Empire’s preferred language of Latin-they decided to keep the Greek word as the title.

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