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8 - Proverbs

from Part II - Wisdom Literature in the Hebrew Bible

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2022

Katherine J. Dell
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Suzanna R. Millar
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Arthur Jan Keefer
Affiliation:
Eton College
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Summary

In his chapter on Proverbs, Christopher Ansberry provides a refreshing introductory approach to the book, not least because he starts with the history of interpretation rather than letting thematic concerns dominate. He identifies five patterns within the history of the book’s interpretation, including a focus on character formation, debates about the nature of its ‘wisdom’ and place in the canon, interest in its reception via matters of date and authorship, the discovery of comparative ancient Near Eastern material, and current, expanding interdisciplinary approaches to the book. A section on the fundamental nature of the book takes on matters of form, genre, poetic features, and the idea of a ‘collection’, whilst granting admiration rather than suspicion to the complexities of the book’s sayings. Likewise, the structure of Proverbs, though containing many parts, comes together into a coherent whole, an ‘anthology’, to which each piece contributes. Ansberry concludes by proposing four ‘dominant’ themes in the book: the fear of the Lord; wisdom; moral order and created order; retribution and reward.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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References

Further Reading

Brown, William P. Wisdom’s Wonder: Character, Creation, and Crisis in the Bible’s Wisdom Literature. Grand Rapids: 2014.Google Scholar
Dell, Katharine J. The Book of Proverbs in Social and Theological Context. Cambridge: 2006.Google Scholar
Fox, Michael V. Proverbs 1–9: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. AB 18A. New York: 2000.Google Scholar
Fox, Michael V. Proverbs 10–31: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. AB 18B. New Haven: 2009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heim, Knut M. Poetic Imagination in Proverbs: Variant Repetitions and the Nature of Poetry. BBRSup 4. Winona Lake: 2013.Google Scholar
Origen. Comm. Cant. Prol. 3, Lawson, R. P., trans., Origen: The Song of Songs: Commentary and Homilies. Ancient Christian Writers 26. Westminster: The Newman Press, 1957.Google Scholar
Stewart, Anne W. Poetic Ethics in Proverbs: Wisdom Literature and the Shaping of the Moral Self. New York: 2016.Google Scholar
Von Rad, Gerhard. Wisdom in Israel. Translated by J. D. Martin. London: 1972.Google Scholar
Weeks, Stuart. Instruction and Imagery in Proverbs 1–9. Oxford: 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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