Character in Crisis: A Fresh Approach to the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament

Character in Crisis: A Fresh Approach to the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament

by William P. Brown
     
 

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ISBN-10: 080284135X

ISBN-13: 9780802841353

Pub. Date: 02/29/1996

Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company

At a time when the chasm between academic scholarship and theological reflection seems to be widening, both the academic guild and the church share in common an uncertainty over how to study and appropriate the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. On the one hand, mainline denominations have for the most part avoided the books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes

Overview

At a time when the chasm between academic scholarship and theological reflection seems to be widening, both the academic guild and the church share in common an uncertainty over how to study and appropriate the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. On the one hand, mainline denominations have for the most part avoided the books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes in their preaching and educational curriculum. Biblical scholars, on the other hand, have labored hard to identify the theological significance and thematic center of the wisdom literature, but without much consensus.

In Character in Crisis, William P. Brown helps to break the impasse by demonstrating that the aim of the Bible’s wisdom literature is the formation of the moral character—both for individuals and for the community. Brown traces the theme of moral identity and conduct throughout the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, with a concluding reflection on the Epistle of James in the New Testament, and explores a range of issues that includes literary characterization, moral discourse, worldview, and the theology of the ancient sages. He examines the ways in which central characters such as God, wisdom, and human beings are profiled in the wisdom books and shows how their characterizations impart ethical meaning to the reading community, both ancient and modern.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802841353
Publisher:
Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date:
02/29/1996
Pages:
190
Product dimensions:
6.02(w) x 9.08(h) x 0.52(d)

Table of Contents

"
  1. Introduction:The Ethics and Ethos of Biblical Wisdom
  2. Descriptive Character
    Prescriptive or Moral Character
    Literary and Moral Character
    Narrative and Character
    Character and Wisdom Literature

  3. The Formation of Character in Proverbs; or, Virtue and the Art of Community Maintenance
  4. Proverbs 1:1-7
    The Ethos of Instruction
    The Profile of Virtue in Parental Discourse
    Wisdom's Discourse: From Character to Creation
    Virtues for the Wise: Proverbs 9:7-12
    Conclusion: Prolegomena Revisited
    Beyond Proverbs 1-9: Virtues for a Dissolute Age

  5. The Deformation of Character: Job 1-31
  6. The Prologue: The Profile of Integrity (1:1-2:13)
    The Discourse: Integrity Re-profiled

  7. The Reformation of Character: Job 32-42
  8. Elihu: The Untamed, Wise Youth
    Yahweh's Discourse
    The Epilogue: Job Restored
    Conclusion: The Ecology of Character

  9. Character Reconstructed: Ecclesiastes
  10. Qoheleth's Self-Characterization
    The Shaking of the Foundations
    Wisdom Recharacterized
    Qoheleth's Relation to the World: The Absurd
    Character Reconstructed
    Conclusion

  11. Conclusion: The Journey of Character
  12. The Self Moving Outward
    The Self Returning
    Formation of Character: What Is Gained in the Journey
    A Synthesis of Character?
    The Letter of James: Wisdom for the Church

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