18-2 Wisdom Literature
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When were the wisdom books edited?
When did the wisdom tradition reach its peak?
post-exilic period, when prophecy ceased
seven wisdom books
- Song of Songs*
Sources of Wisdom in Israel
- international influence
- lessons passed down from generation to generation
- formal education
Four Wisdom Books attributed to Solomon
- Song of Songs
Characteristics of Wisdom Books
- lack of focus on Israel itself
- sets forth rules for life
- contemplation of creation and God as Creator
- questioning attitude about the problems of life
Literary Forms of Wisdom Literature
- proverbs (Hb. massal)
- straightforward moral lessons
- comparisons, allegories, images from nature, rhetorical questions
Hb. masal means ______________
A saying of proverb is ______________
a sentence, usually in the indicative mood, drawn from experience.
relationship between wisdom and the Lord
Wisdom is especially known to and close to the Lord. The approach to wisdom is fear of the Lord.
What does Lady Wisdom do?
Lady Wisdom threatens those who do not heed her, but ofers peace and security to those who obey.
Who is the antithesis of Lady Wisdom?
Dame Folly, who offers stolen bread and water and seduces the young searcher of wisdom.
Early Christians identify Wisdom with ____________
the eternal Son, the Word of God
Attribution of the Proverbs
theme in the Proverbs that is also found in Canaanite religion
Dame Folly seducing the young searcher of wisdom
Two types of Proverbs
- pragmatic, secular, materialistic
- religious reflection on the role of the Lord as God of Israel
one who challenges Job and his three friends
Qoheleth means _____________.
- head of the church assembly
Gk. Ecclesiastes = Hb. ____________
What is Ecclesiastes known as?
the most skeptical book in the Bible, consisted of many philosophical reflections on someone quite skeptical about the meaning and purpose of life
Literary device of Ecclesiastes
the reflection based on experience
Themes of Ecclesiastes
- the great gulf between the transcendent God and our human striving to understand and so control him
- life is cyclic, without any direction or purpose (no linear view of history)
- the problem of evil
How was the Song of Songs used?
as a love poem or wedding song
Why did the Jewish rabbis dispute its place in the canon?
The book's lusty nature caused them to hesitate.
What made the Jewish rabbis finally assent to include the Song of Songs into the canon?
the belief that the Song of Songs allegorically describes the Lord's love for Israel
How is the Song of Songs extremely influential in Christian mystical theology?
It is seen as an allegory of the love of Christ for the Church, or for the soul of the individual believer.
What is the longest of the Wisdom Books (excluding Psalms) and how many chapters does it contains?
Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), which 51 chapters
Who is the author of Ecclesiasticus?
a Jew who arrived in Egypt in 132 BC. He began translating his grandfather's book from Hebrew to Greek.
What is the dating of the original Hebrew text of Ecclesiasticus?
Where have fragments of Ecclesiasticus been found?
Cairo, Palestine, Qumran
Why did the Jewish rabbis not accept Ecclesiasticus in the canon?
It was not from the time of Ezra of before.
What is Ecclesiasticus popular for?
catechetical instruction among Christians, who knew it as ecclesiasticus, "the church book"
What was the last OT book to be written and in what language?
Wisdom; in Greek
When and where was Wisdom written?
In the 1st century BC in Egypt.
What is the significance of the writing of Sirach and Wisdom in Egypt?
It reassures the Jewish community there that keeping their faith is worthwhile despite the hardships of living in a pagan land.
Two themes in Wisdom
- salvation history as a lesson for learning wisdom
- immortality as an explanation of how God rewards the sufferings of the just
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