If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom formed in the life of faith, its end is nothing less than the shaping of a moral self and community attuned to the character of God. This pursuit of wisdom is an ongoing journey, never a simple arrival. For the wisdom writings of the Old Testament, the pursuit of wisdom calls for the ongoing attainment of instruction, insight, shrewdness, knowledge, prudence, learning, and skill. And persons who attain wisdom think more deeply, are more discerning, and have a keener insight into the complexities and nuances of decision making. For a world-perspective that assumes the power and reality of divinity, being wise means living ethically - and to live ethically, one must be in a constant intellectual pursuit of meaning. The book details the structure, themes, and contribution to both ancient and modern society of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. The chapters on Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon will discuss the consonance and dissonance with "canonical wisdom," giving special attention to the development of their core ideas. The book will conclude with a chapter on Wisdom's abiding legacy.
- Half title
- General Preface
- Introduction: Wisdom and wisdom
- Chapter 1: Proverbs: "Wisdom Begins with the Fear of the Lord"
- Composition History
- Literary Forms
- Sociopolitical Context
- Thematic Coherence
- Chapter 2: Job: "Wisdom, Where Can It Be Found?"
- Form, Structure, and Genre
- A Man Named Job
- For No Reason
- Ultimate Questions, Penultimate Answers
- Wisdom, Where Can It Be Found? Where Is the Place of Understanding?
- Epilogue or Eulogy?
- Chapter 3: Ecclesiastes: "Perfectly Pointless"
- Authorship, Date, and Structure
- Rhetorical Strategy
- Qohelet's Intellectual World
- The End of the Matter
- Chapter 4: Sirach: "All Wisdom Involves Doing the Law"
- Form, Structure, and Rhetorical Strategy
- Ethos and Ethics
- Fear of God, Wisdom, and Law: The Ethics of Submission
- Ben Sira's God: "The Lord Is the All"
- Chapter 5: Wisdom of Solomon: "Doing What Is Right Means Living Forever"
- Historical and Cultural Contexts
- Intellectual Economy
- Key Issues and Theological Themes
- Conclusion: The End of Wisdom