Understanding Wisdom Literature: Conflict and Dissonance in the Hebrew Text

Overview

Israelite wisdom, literature, David Penchansky argues, records the disputes of ancient sages over basic human questions: What is the purpose of life? Is God just? Why do we suffer? Does God even exist? Penchansky sees conflicting answers to these questions in Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Ben Sira, and the Wisdom of Solomon -- and does not try to harmonize them. Instead, he finds meaning in the very dissonance and contradiction within these texts. Employing the latest scholarship yet remaining accessible to ...
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Overview

Israelite wisdom, literature, David Penchansky argues, records the disputes of ancient sages over basic human questions: What is the purpose of life? Is God just? Why do we suffer? Does God even exist? Penchansky sees conflicting answers to these questions in Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Ben Sira, and the Wisdom of Solomon -- and does not try to harmonize them. Instead, he finds meaning in the very dissonance and contradiction within these texts. Employing the latest scholarship yet remaining accessible to nonspecialists and students, Penchansky strikingly focuses on the "big picture" behind wisdom literature -- making it easy for readers to follow and appreciate these challenging texts -- without undermining each book's distinctive features. In the process, Penchansky opens up this rich and fertile vein of Israelite thought and demonstrates the renewed relevance of ancient Hebrew wisdom for today.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802867063
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 3/21/2012
  • Pages: 141
  • Sales rank: 1,329,384
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David Penchansky is professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul, Minnesota. His other books include Twilight of the Gods: Polytheism in the Hebrew Bible and What Rough Beast? Images of God in the Hebrew Bible.
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Table of Contents

Abbreviations ix

Acknowledgment xii

Introduction 1

1 Who Are the Sages? 11

2 What Unity in Proverbs? 22

3 The Meaning of the Book of Job 35

4 Wisdom, Madness, and Folly: The Three Qoheleths 50

5 Sounds of Silence: The Absence of Covenantal Theology in the Wisdom Literature 64

6 Sophia and Simon: The Two Poles of Ben Sira's Affection 86

7 The Conservatism of Pseudo-Solomon 96

Conclusion 111

Bibliography 114

Subject and Author Index 125

Scripture Index 127

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