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21 - Reward and Retribution

from Part IV - Themes in the Wisdom Literature

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

The contribution by Peter T. H. Hatton is dedicated entirely to conceptions of reward and retribution in the wisdom literature. He considers how well-placed and sometimes misplaced the paradigm can be, namely that wickedness brings retribution and righteousness brings reward. Such doctrines, he says, remain ‘key claims of a dominant interpretive tradition’ and have consequently formed a ‘pejorative paradigm’ that leaves the book of Proverbs out of favour in comparison to more nuanced books of the OT. The seminal work of 1955 by Klaus Koch – ‘Gibt es ein Vergeltungsdogma im Alten Tesament?’ (Is there a Dogma of Retribution in the Old Testament?) – receives special attention, as do subsequent, critical responses to it. Hatton suggests that the moral mechanism of act-consequence is just not that predictable and that in Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes the paradigm is principally relational. For ‘reward’ and ‘retribution’ are not mechanical but are rather conditioned by one’s relationship with the Lord.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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References

Further Reading

Boström, Lennart. The God of the Sages: The Portrayal of God in the Book of Proverbs. ConBOT 29. Stockholm: 1990.Google Scholar
Brown William, P. Character in Crisis: A Fresh Approach to the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: 1996.Google Scholar
Clines, David J. A.The Wisdom Books’. Pages 269291 in Creating the Old Testament: The Emergence of the Hebrew Bible. Edited by Bigger, S.. Oxford: 1989.Google Scholar
Forti, Tova. ‘The Concept of “Reward” in Proverbs: A Diachronic or Synchronic Approach?CurBR 12 (2014): 129145.Google Scholar
Fox, Michael V. A Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build Up: A Re-reading of Ecclesiastes. Grand Rapids: 1999.Google Scholar
Hatton, Peter T. H.A Cautionary Tale: The Acts-Consequence Construct’. JSOT 35 (2011): 375384.Google Scholar
Janzen, J. Gerald. Job. IBC. Louisville: 1990.Google Scholar
Koch, Klaus. ‘Is There a Doctrine of Retribution in the Old Testament?’ Pages 5787 in Theodicy in the Old Testament. Edited by Crenshaw, James. Translated by Thomas J. Trapp. London: 1983.Google Scholar
Limburg, James. Encountering Ecclesiastes: A Book for Our Time. Grand Rapids: 2006.Google Scholar
Lucas, Ernest. Proverbs. THOTC. Grand Rapids: 2015.Google Scholar
Von Rad, Gerhard. Wisdom in Israel. Translated by James D. Martin. London: 1972.Google Scholar

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