Biblical scholars of the Old Testament have long upheld that YHWH is a “hidden God.” In fact, the hiddenness of God finds robust expression in the book of Ecclesiastes, where the concept seems to frame the very idea of God. Yet Karl Barth famously opposed Luther’s Deus absconditus, whose existence suggested a God “behind the back” of Jesus. If Barth is right that YHWH is no Deus absconditus, what then of Qohelet’s claim that divine hiddenness is an essential theological affirmation? The goal of this article is to examine how Barth’s discomfort with the Deus absconditus can be reconciled with the fact that divine hiddenness seems to frame Qoheleth’s theological perspective. On the side of systematics, we must determine what Barth says about hiddenness and the Deus absconditus: why, how, and to what degree he challenges the notion. As I shall argue, Barth’s complex theology of revelation exhibits a tension, both affirming a certain notion of God’s “hiddenness” and denying the Deus absconditus. On the biblical side, we must determine the nature and content of Qohelet’s God-talk. I will argue that many descriptions of the God-talk of Ecclesiastes are exaggerated and insensitive to Qohelet’s larger theological perspective. In the end, a more nuanced reading of both Barth and Qoheleth can bring these giants into conversation with one another and perhaps even clarify what is left ambiguous in Ecclesiastes’s theological assertions.

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