Wisdom Literature

By Samuel E. Balentine Available
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Wisdom literature is foundational to our life and learning.

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.


About the Author

Samuel E. Balentine

Samuel E. Balentine is Professor of Old Testament at Union Presbyterian Seminary. A highly regarded scholar who served on the faculty of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond for 10 years, Dr. Samuel Balentine joined the Union-PSCE faculty in September 2004.

He is the author of four books, including a commentary on Leviticus in the Interpretation Bible Commentary series (John Knox Press) and The Torah’s Vision of Worship (Fortress Press, 1999). He has edited or co-edited numerous books and scholarly journals, and written nearly three dozen articles for significant journals in biblical studies.