Proverbs

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Overview

"Proverbs is the fountainhead of the wisdom movement, providing 'old things and new,' " explains Dr. Roland E. Murphy. Yet in the field of wisdom studies Proverbs has suffered a certain neglect. Even Dr. Murphy admits that during his career as a scholar he did "almost anything else with wisdom literature except write a commentary on this book."

Drawing upon a distinguished academic career, Dr. Murphy now shares his vast insight into Wisdom Literature in this fresh translation ...

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Overview

"Proverbs is the fountainhead of the wisdom movement, providing 'old things and new,' " explains Dr. Roland E. Murphy. Yet in the field of wisdom studies Proverbs has suffered a certain neglect. Even Dr. Murphy admits that during his career as a scholar he did "almost anything else with wisdom literature except write a commentary on this book."

Drawing upon a distinguished academic career, Dr. Murphy now shares his vast insight into Wisdom Literature in this fresh translation and in-depth discussion.

Dr. Murphy approaches Proverbs as "a collection of collections, ... prefaced by an introduction (chaps. 1-9)." The long poems of chapters 1-9 serve to introduce the collections of short sayings in chapters 10-31, which make up most of the book of Proverbs. With this division the writer accepts "the unproven but likely assumption" that during the postexilic period chapters 1-9 "set the tone" for the mostly preexilic collections in chapters I 0-31.

Murphy cautions his readers to consider the limitations of proverbial sayings. The Israelite sages sought in their optimistic teachings to express "the mystery that surrounds all human action: not only self-knowledge, but knowledge of the mysterious role of God." Much of the wisdom of Proverbs points out the ambiguities of life. Yet the proverbs do not provide the final word; "rather they act as a goad, a prod to further thought."

This treatment of Proverbs will be invaluable to clergy and lay readers who desire a penetrating study of the book. The writer leads us through all the types of proverbs: instructions, exhortations of a parent/teacher, speeches of personified Wisdom, and short sayings.

"Israelite wisdom is more practical than theoretical. It attempts to persuade, cajole, threaten, of command a particular attitude or course of action . . . . When the sage says 'listen,' 'hear,' the meaning is 'obey.' " Roland Murphy, in this new commentary, helps us uncover this practical message of Proverbs.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849902215
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/1998
  • Series: Word Biblical Commentary Series , #22
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Roland E. Murphy, O. Carm., is George Washington lvey Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies of Duke Univ. His degrees include an S. T.D. in Theology, an M.A. in Semitic Languages from Catholic Univ. of America, and an S.S.L. from Biblical Institute in Rome. He served as coeditor of the New Oxford Annotated Bible. His previous books include The Song of Songs in the Hermeneia series and Ecclesiastes in the WBC series, and The Tree of Lift: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature.

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