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Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
The Social World of the Sages: An Iintroduction to Israelite and Jewish Wisdom Literature

The Social World of the Sages: An Iintroduction to Israelite and Jewish Wisdom Literature

by Mark R. Sneed


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The Social World of the Sages: An Iintroduction to Israelite and Jewish Wisdom Literature

Is there evidence for a distinct "wisdom tradition" in ancient Israel? Mark R. Sneed redefines the wisdom literature as a loosely cohering collection of books that educated scribal apprentices in moral instruction. Sneed discusses the data for scribal culture and pedagogy in the ancient Near East, suggesting that wisdom literature was meant to complement, not to compete with, other modes of literature in the Hebrew Bible. The result is a surprising new picture of the authors and tradents of the wisdom literature. Maps and illustrations included

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451470369
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
Publication date: 06/01/2015
Pages: 450
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements and Dedication xi

Maps, Illustrations, Figures, and Sidebars xii

Abbreviations xvii

1 The Nature of Wisdom and Its Practitioners 1

Defining Wisdom 3

The Semantic Domain of Wisdom 16

Two Broad Kinds of Wisdom 19

Who Were the Sages? 20

2 The World and Worldview of the Wise: An Anthropological Approach 31

Geography and Climate of Ancient Palestine 32

Israelite Society 40

Economy of Ancient Israel 46

The Ancient Israelite Worldview 55

3 Scribalism in Egypt and Mesopotamia 67

Mesopotamian Scribalism 67

Egptian Scribalism 90

Summary 109

4 Western Periphery Scribalism 111

The Western Periphery 113

Important Sites 115

The Amarna Letters 133

Canaanite Literature and Mythology 135

Summary 145

5 Istaelite Scribalism and the Place of Wisdom Literature Within It 147

Writing in the Second Millennium BCE 148

The Emergence of the Alphabet 149

Scribalism and Literacy in Ancient Isracl 152

Yoram Cohen and Late Bronze Age Wisdom Literature 173

Paul-Alain Beaulieu and Babylonian Wisdom Literature 178

The Place of Wisdom Literature within the Israelite Scribal Curriculum 179

Conclusion 181

6 The Wisdom Corpus as a Mode of Literature 183

Genres 183

Generic Worlds versus Worldviews 186

Biblical Genres and Their Social Setting 192

The Elusive Nature of Genres 199

The Instability of Genres 203

Economy of Genres 206

Conclusion 215

7 The Poetics, Axiology, and Rhetoric of Wisdom Literature 217

Wisdom Literature as Poetry 218

What is Hebrew Poetry? 220

The Aphorism as the Primary Genre of the Wisdom Literature 234

The Weighing of Values: A Structural Approach 235

Disjointed Proverbs 239

Paradoxes 240

The Rhetoric of Wisdom 241

Summary 256

8 Social World of the Sages 259

Honor and Shame in Israelite Society 259

The Social Class of the Sages 286

The Sages as Intellectuals 289

Women and Wisdom 290

Summary 295

9 The Book of Proverbs 297

Structure 297

Clusters and Twice-Told Proverbs 300

Authorship 301

Date 302

Relationship between Proverbs 22:17-24:22 and the Instruction of Amencmope 305

Intended Audience 307

Sub-Genres 307

Demotic Egyptian Sentences 310

Other Special Genres 311

10 The Book of Job 319

Structure 319

Integreity 320

Genre 321

Authorship and Date 328

Job and Popular Culture 329

Ancient Near Eastern Parallesls 330

Important Themes 332

Honor and Job 336

God versus Job 337

11 Ecclesiastes 341

Structure 341

Authorship and Audience 346

Date 348

Qohelet's Idiosyncratic Use of Language 349

The Meaning of Hebel 350

Qohelet's Ethical System: Hedging One's Bets 352

Honor and Qohelet 356

Comparative Literature 357

12 Sirach and Sapientia 359

Judaism and Hellenism 360

Ben Sira 363

Wisdom of Solomon or Sapientia 373

13 Wisdom Psalms and the Dead Sea Scroll Wisdom Literature 379

The Outer Limits of the Wisdom Tradition 379

Wisdom Psalms 381

Dead Sea Scroll Wisdom Literature 389

Works Consulted 397

Index of Scripture Passages 423

Index of Names and Subjects 439

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