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Title: Introduction to the Study of Wisdom Literature
Author: Weeks, Stuart
Publisher: Bloomsbury T & T Clark; Publication Date: 2010
Paperback; ISBN: 9780567184436
Volumes: 1; Pages: 176
List Price in Paper: $24.95 Our price: $24.95
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In contrast to much of the other literature in the Hebrew Bible, the wisdom books have little interest in corporate religion or historical exigencies, but focus instead on the needs of each individual, struggling to survive and prosper in a world that can be dangerous and confusing.
This has sometimes led to the marginalization of this literature in biblical studies, but has also allowed it to remain popular and influential amongst readers of the Bible, who have continued to confront the same questions and issues across the centuries.
After an initial section, examining these basic questions and the development of "authoritative" literary genres which sought to address them in Egypt and Mesopotamia, the literary characteristics and thought of each book will be outlined, and the relationships between them discussed.
The third section will look at the historical questions and approaches, discussing the traditional tendency to isolate wisdom literature, but also emphasizing the many links with other biblical literature and thought. The final section, similarly, will suggest that the theological and ideological positions most commonly associated with wisdom literature can also be viewed more profitably in the general context of developing Jewish ideas than as an "alien" body within the canon, although it will additionally indicate their continuing relevance for modern theology. Overall, then, the introduction will reflect the emphasis of much recent scholarship on wisdom literature's place within Jewish religion and thought, whilst giving due weight to older theories, but will offer a distinctive angle of approach, via the fundamental questions addressed in the literature.
Table of Contents
1. Wisdom Literature in Context
a. The terms"wisdom" and "wisdom literature".
b. The question of authority.
c. The ancient Near Eastern background.
d. The roots of biblical wisdom literature.
2. The Wisdom Books
a. Proverbs: its nature as an anthology, and the character of the subsections.
d. The apocryphal wisdom books, and other early Jewish wisdom texts.
e. On defining a corpus of "wisdom literature".
3. The Place of Wisdom Literature.
a. The place of the wisdom texts in the biblical canon.
b. The origins of wisdom literature and the question of "wisdom circles".
c. The influence of wisdom literature.
4. Wisdom and Theology
a. Creation, world-order, and the role of God.
b. Wisdom, ethics, and personal piety.
c. The influence of wisdom ideas and motifs in Jewish and Christian thought.