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6 - Theological Themes in the ‘Wisdom Literature’

Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes

from Part I - The Context of 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

Katharine Dell’s contribution explores the question whether there is a distinctive set of theological ideas for the three key wisdom books – Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes. After a brief survey of scholarship on this debate over the last century and a half, key themes that the books have in common are explored, with salient examples – the doctrine of retribution; the fear of the Lord; the figure of Wisdom and the attainment of wisdom; the theme of creation; communication and life and death. Although considerable commonality is found, there is also a discovery of difference and of interlinking with other books in the canon. The themes themselves are not confined to these ‘wisdom’ books, even though they characterize them accompanied by an essential didactic approach.

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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. The Ethos of the Cosmos: The Genesis of Moral Imagination in the Bible. Grand Rapids: 1999.Google Scholar
Brown, William. Wisdom’s Wonder: Character, Creation, and Crisis in the Bible’s Wisdom Literature. Grand Rapids: 2014.Google Scholar
Brueggemann, Walter. Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy. Minneapolis: 1997. Notably, chapter 24 on the sages of Israel.Google Scholar
Crenshaw, James L., ed. Theodicy in the Old Testament. Philadelphia; London: 1983.Google Scholar
Crenshaw, James L., Defending God: Biblical Responses to the Problem of Evil. Oxford: 2005.Google Scholar
Dell, Katharine J. Job: Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? T & T Clark Study Guides to the Old Testament. London, 2016.Google Scholar
Dell, Katharine J. The Theology of the Book of Proverbs. OTT. Cambridge: forthcoming.Google Scholar
Fretheim, T. E. God and World in the Old Testament: A Relational Theology of Creation. Nashville; Edinburgh: 2005.Google Scholar
Longman, Tremper III. The Fear of the Lord Is Wisdom: A Theological Introduction to Wisdom in Israel. Grand Rapids: 2017.Google Scholar
Lucas, Ernest C. Proverbs. THOTC. Grand Rapids: 2015.Google Scholar
Murphy, Roland E. The Tree of Life: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: 1996.Google Scholar
Perdue, Leo G. Wisdom and Creation: The Theology of Wisdom Literature. Nashville: 1994.Google Scholar
Támez, Elsa. When the Horizons Close: Rereading Ecclesiastes. Maryknoll: 2000.Google Scholar
Weeks, Stuart. An Introduction to the Study of Wisdom Literature. Approaches to Biblical Studies. London; New York, 2010.Google Scholar
Whybray, R. Norman. ‘Wisdom, Suffering and the Freedom of God in the Book of Job’. Pages 231245 in In Search of True Wisdom: Essays in Old Testament Interpretation in Honour of Ronald E. Clements. Edited by Ball, E.. JSOTS 300. Sheffield: 1999.Google Scholar

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