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22 - From Rebuke to Testimony to Proverb

Wisdom’s Many Pedagogies

from Part IV - Themes in the Wisdom Literature

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2022

Katherine J. Dell
University of Cambridge
Suzanna R. Millar
University of Edinburgh
Arthur Jan Keefer
Eton College
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William P. Brown explores the pedagogy of the wisdom literature. He argues that wisdom is dynamic as it is imparted between individuals, and that it finds its telos in human character development. This dynamic pedagogy is versatile. Sometimes (especially Proverbs 1–9), it manifests itself in rebuke, pronounced hierarchically in the matrix of patriarchal authority. Rebuke, though, can also be dialogic; in Proverbs, the wise also impart it amongst themselves. Both models of rebuke are evident in Job, where Job and his friends reciprocally rebuke each other, and God hierarchically rebukes Job. God’s rebuke, though, is not simply belittling, rather eliciting wonder through the pedagogy of the Master Poet. These texts also teach through testimony – Qohelet invokes his personal observations and investigations, and Wisdom herself testifies to her role in creation (Proverbs 8). Here, Wisdom comes alongside readers as a playing child, and welcomes them as a gracious host. Finally, proverbs have pedagogical power, revelling in comparison, paradox, irony, and metaphor.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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Further Reading

Adams, Samuel L. Wisdom in Transition: Act and Consequence in Second Temple Instructions. JSJSup 125. Leiden; Boston: 2008.Google Scholar
Brown, William P.The Pedagogy of Proverbs 10:1–31:9’. Pages 150182 in Character and Scripture: Moral Formation, Community, and Biblical Interpretation. Edited by Brown, William P.. Grand Rapids: 2002.Google Scholar
Brown, William P.The Didactic Power of Metaphor in the Aphoristic Sayings of Proverbs’. JSOT 29 (2004): 133154.Google Scholar
Brown, William P. Wisdom’s Wonder: Character, Creation, and Crisis in the Bible’s Wisdom Literature. Grand Rapids: 2014.Google Scholar
Brown, William P.When Wisdom Fails’. Pages 209223 in ‘When the Morning Stars Sang’: Essays in Honor of Choon Leong Seow on the Occasion of His Sixty-Fifth Birthday. Edited by Jones, Scott C. and Yoder, Christine Roy. BZAW 500. Berlin: 2018.Google Scholar
Brown, William P.Virtue and Its Limits in the Wisdom Corpus: Character Formation, Disruption, and Transformation’. Pages 4564 in The Oxford Handbook of Wisdom and the Bible. Edited by Kynes, Will. New York: 2021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cheung, Simon Chi-chung. Wisdom Intoned: A Reappraisal of the Genre ‘Wisdom Psalms’. LHB OTS 613. London: 2015.Google Scholar
Clines, David J. A. Job 38–42. WBC 18B. Nashville: 2011.Google Scholar
Crenshaw, James L. Education in Ancient Israel: Across the Deadening Silence. ABRL. New York: 1998.Google Scholar
Dell, Katharine J. The Book of Job as Sceptical Literature. BZAW 197. Berlin: 1991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dell, Katharine J. The Book of Proverbs in Social and Theological Context. Cambridge: 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Doak, Brian R. Consider Leviathan: Narratives of Nature and Self in Job. Minneapolis: 2014.Google Scholar
Fox, Michael V.Wisdom in Qoheleth’. Pages 115131 in In Search of Wisdom: Essays in Memory of John G. Gammie. Edited by Perdue, Leo G., Scott, Bernard Brandon and Wiseman, William Johnston. Louisville: 1993.Google Scholar
Fox, Michael V. Proverbs 1–9. AB 18A. New York: 2000.Google Scholar
Hatton, Peter T. H. Contradiction in the Book of Proverbs: The Deep Water of Counsel. Aldershot: 2008.Google Scholar
Melchert, Charles F. Wise Teaching: Biblical Wisdom and Educational Ministry. Harrisburg: 1998.Google Scholar
Newsom, Carol A.Woman and the Discourse of Patriarchal Wisdom: A Study of Proverbs 1–9’. Pages in 142160 in Gender and Difference in Ancient Israel. Edited by Day, Peggy L.. Minneapolis: 1989.Google Scholar
O’Connor, Kathleen M.Wild, Raging Creativity: The Scene in the Whirlwind (Job 38–41)’. Pages 171179 in A God So Near: Essays on Old Testament Theology in Honor of Patrick D. Miller. Edited by Strawn, Brent A. and Bowen, Nancy R.. University Park: 2003.Google Scholar
Sandoval, Timothy J.Revisiting the Prologue of Proverbs’. JBL 126 (2007): 455–473.Google Scholar
Sandoval, Timothy J.. The Discourse of Wealth and Poverty in the Book of Proverbs. Leiden: 2005.Google Scholar
Schellenberg, Annette. Erkenntnis als Problem: Qohelet and die atltestamentliche Diskussion um das menschliche Erkennen. OBO 188. Universitätsverlag. Freiburg: 2002.Google Scholar
Schipper, Bernd U. Proverbs 1–15: A Commentary. Hermeneia. Minneapolis: 2019.Google Scholar
von Rad, Gerhard. Wisdom in Israel. Translated by James D. Martin. Nashville: 1972.Google Scholar
Yoder, Christine Roy. ‘Forming ‘Fearers of Yahweh’: Repetition and Contradiction as Pedagogy in Proverbs’. Pages 167183 in Seeking Out the Wisdom of the Ancients: Essays Offered to Honor Michael V. Fox on the Occasion of his Sixty-Fifth Birthday. Edited by Troxel, Ronald L., Friebel, Kelvin G. and Magary, Dennis R.. Winona Lake, 2005.Google Scholar
Yoder, Christine Roy. ‘On the Threshold of Kingship: A Study of Agur (Proverbs 30)’. Int 63 (2009): 254263.Google Scholar

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