In contrast to much of the other literature in the Hebrew Bible, the wisdom books – Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes – have little interest in Israel's national history and worship, but focus instead on the needs of each individual, struggling to survive and prosper in a world that can be dangerous and confusing.
This introduction to the study of Wisdom Literature is geared to questions of method and approach. The introduction and first chapter examine the basic questions central to the literature. Subsequent chapters outline the content, characteristics, and thought of each book, and discuss the problems involved in approaching and interpreting them. Examination of the biblical wisdom books is followed by a survey and discussion of other Jewish literature with a claim to be called 'wisdom literature', including psalms, and works from the apocrypha and from Qumran. The final chapters turban to more general issues of thought, place, and definition, concluding that wisdom literature must be understood not in terms of a shared origin, theology, or ideology, but as a type of literary discourse.
About the Author
Dr Stuart Weeks MA (Oxon.) MPhil DPhil, Senior Lecturer in Old Testament and Hebrew, Durham University, UK. He is the author of Early Israelite Wisdom (OUP, 1994) and Instructions & Imagery in Proverbs 1-9 (OUP, 2007). He is writing the ICC volume on Ecclesiastes for T&T Clark.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Wisdom Literature and its Foreign Counterparts 9
Chapter 2 The Book of Proverbs 23
Chapter 3 The Book of Job 49
Chapter 4 Ecclesiastes 71
Chapter 5 Other Jewish Wisdom Literature 85
Chapter 6 Wisdom Thought 107
Chapter 7 The Origins and Place of Wisdom Literature 127
Further Reading 145
General Index 159
Index of Authors 161
Select Index of Passages Cited and Discussed 163