Wisdom's Wonder: Character, Creation, and Crisis in the Bible's Wisdom Literature

Overview

Wisdom's Wonder offers a fresh reading of the Hebrew Bible's wisdom literature with a unique emphasis on "wonder" as the framework for understanding biblical wisdom. William Brown argues that wonder effectively integrates biblical wisdom's emphasis on character formation and its outlook on creation, breaking an impasse that has plagued recent wisdom studies.

Drawing on various disciplines, from philosophy to neuroscience, Brown discovers new distinctions and connections in ...

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Wisdom's Wonder: Character, Creation, and Crisis in the Bible's Wisdom Literature

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Overview

Wisdom's Wonder offers a fresh reading of the Hebrew Bible's wisdom literature with a unique emphasis on "wonder" as the framework for understanding biblical wisdom. William Brown argues that wonder effectively integrates biblical wisdom's emphasis on character formation and its outlook on creation, breaking an impasse that has plagued recent wisdom studies.

Drawing on various disciplines, from philosophy to neuroscience, Brown discovers new distinctions and connections in Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. Each book is studied in terms of its view of moral character and creation, as well as in terms of the social or intellectual crisis each book identifies. Most general treatments of the wisdom literature spend too much time on issues of genre, poetry, and social context at the neglect of discussing the intellectual and emotional power of the wisdom corpus. Brown argues that the real power of the wisdom corpus lies in its capacity to evoke the reader's sense of wonder.

An extensive revision and expansion of Brown's Character in Crisis (Eerdmans, 1996), this book demonstrates that the wisdom books are much more than simply advice literature: with wonder as the foundation for understanding, Brown maintains that wisdom is a process with transformation of the self as the goal.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
James L. Crenshaw
-- Duke University
"Using wonder as the interpretive clue, Bill Brown deftly juxtaposes the formation of character by Israel's sages with the awe-inspiring universe in which that frequently disorienting process of education took place. In this way, he explores in amazing detail the richness and diversity of Proverbs, the book of Job, and Ecclesiastes."

Brent A. Strawn
-- Emory University
"This book is no mere 'second edition' of William Brown's earlier Character in Crisis. While bits and pieces of that book remain, the whole has been completely reenvisioned: character is here combined with creation under the rubric of wonder. In the process, Brown has reconceived the very nature of wisdom itself as 'fear seeking understanding.' In bravely rethinking both his own project and wisdom more broadly, Brown not only discusses the sages but proves that he himself is one."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802867933
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

William P. Brown is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. Other books of his include The Seven Pillars of Creation: The Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder and Seeing the Psalms: A Theology of Metaphor.
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