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Ministry of the Word - Wisdom Literature
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WISDOM LITERATURE
Fr Jude 12th Oct 2008
I. INTRODUCTION:
1.                 Proverbs in daily use.
2.                 What is wisdom who is a wise person.
3.                 what is the goal of wisdom.
 
Proverbs come from experience.
 
Why do we need the Wisdom of God.
1.                 God created man & gave him dominion over all things. Gen 1 & 2.
2.                 The world of nature is governed by law, there is an underlined order to the Cosmos.
3.                 By seeking these laws of nature & living accordingly man could ensure his peace & Happiness.
4.                 The law of life were not evident or discernable to man hence they had to discover through experience.
5.                 From a number of experiences man derived certain principals of living, they were constantly reviewed, adapted modified to suite his living. ( the birth of the proverb)
6.                 These wisdom principals are not the effort of the person but a group of people, the wisdom principals are a communal possessions, they are of universal appeal, & belong to all human beings.
 
Poetic & imagery proverbs.
Aims of all wisdom sayings, is to avert harm & to bring happiness.
 
What is Wisdom, Who is a wise person.
Wisdom in Hb = Hokma.
           Greek = Sophia.                        Wisdom = Hokma :
1. Skill of an artisan Exo 36:8
2. Royal judgment (Royal = any person in authority) 1 Kgs 3:28 good judgment.
3. Cleverness : shrewd proverb Pro 30:24-28.
4. Rules of conduct. How to behave wisely Pro 2:1-22.
5. Piety: In the Bible it is fear of the Lord Pro. 9:10; Job 1:1
6. The way one copes with Life.
 
CONCLUSION: Wisdom is the skill or art of living a meaningful life, it is the practical knowledge of the Laws of Life. Wisdom is experiencing Knowledge.
 
What is the Goal of Wisdom. =  A good life here & now, in the present.
à A good life is marked by long life, # of children, prosperity, possession, prestige (good name) Job 30:2-20; 1:1ff.
à Right relationship withy God.
à Fear of the Lord = awe & reverence of the presence of God. Pro 9:10; Sir 9:16; Psa 111:10.
God has created man for happiness.
 
II. WISDOM LITERATURE:
1….Strictly Speaking:   
a.                 Proverbs.              -------------------------- à Oldest.
b.                 Job.
c.                  Ecclesiastes   à Quholelk.
d.                 Sirac à Ecclesiasticus
e.                 Wisdom -----------------------------------------à Latest.
 
 
 
Psalms                   -----------------à          Hebrew
Song of songs --------------------    à          Poetic writings.
 
What also could be added à Tobit   4:3-21. 12:6-13.
                                      à Baruch   3:9    4:4.
2. What is the difference between Wisdom & Prophecy, Jer 18:18.
Three important people. Priests, wise men & Prophets.
Priest were concerned with the Law ie is the Torah, & its cultic aspects.
Wise men & Prophets, worked on their own, both gave the inspired knowledge & the meaning of Life.
 
II. 2                                                   

Wise men
Prophets
1      He gains his knowledge from human experience
1. He gets his knowledge from above. Theo centric
From Anthropocentric.
   dreams , Vision,, Revelations, auditions, intuitions
 
   He accepted it with faith.
2   He gets his knowledge with experience, to find
2. They get their knowledge effortlessly.
meaning in life.
 
 
3. The Prophet teaches with command .
3   The Wise men teaches with council, by counseling
    Thus says the Lord.
Ex ' My Son.' in proverbs
 
4        Human experience
4. The hand book of the prophet is the WOG.

 
CONCLUSION. The prophets & Wise men are not opposed to each other, but complement each other. Both start from different points, but reach the same destination, ie inspired knowledge of life. Experience bears out revelation & human experience, proves divine revelation.
 
II 3. Wisdom in the East Extra Biblical.
The Bible also mentions wisdom in other cultures. Jer 49:7 Edom; Obadiah Vs 8 Edom; 1 Kgs 5:6b.
There are wise people in other communities, the eastern sages are found especially in the ruling class. Or more precisely the army, court officers, ministers, councilors, analysts, scribes. They formed an educated and cultured class who readily became teachers passing on to others the result of their experience, including certain principals which should guide & conduct, pointing out the path to success in an administering career. The sages were much concerned with human problems. Mans anguished search for the meaning of Life
Egypt’s dispute over suicide
Dialogues on hu8man misery à Babylonian ANET 438.
 
Egyptian – Sebayit  It is the teaching of the Emperor, monarch, his presentations are similar to the proverbs. The instructions span 25 cent of Egyptian life. The pattern is a teacher transmitting rule of conduct to a student. ( father – son ). The purpose is train a worthy ruler & the life’s setting is the royal court. The advice handed down to the student was intended to preserve it in a justice, & the student had to memorize & observe this rule.
 
 
 
Within the sabayit Are instructions of Amen-em-ope these are similar to proverbs à 22:17 – 24:21. It focus on the silent man & the one who is the master of the situation in full control of the tongue & emotions as opposed to the rash impetuous hot headed person.
Mesopotamian ‘council of wisdom’ 13th centaury BC. It is a collection of moral exhortation, a vizier (court official) speaks to his son, an advice on bad companionship, careless and improper speech, kindness to the needy, harmony with ones neighbours, marriage prospects, honesty towards the king. Priv 13:3. ANET 426.
The story of Ahikar 7th cent BC Ch 11:18; 14:10; 1:21. It is a phenomenal narrative, with collection of sayings, fables, riddles & proverbs. It has become a part of the many different liturgy & it is preserved in several different languages.
ANET 430    Jer 9:23          428     Prov 26:3; 23:13-14.   ----à discipline.
Other writings ‘I will praise the lord of wisdom’ Mesopotamian, Babylonian, Theodicy, Sumerian. Job.
 
II 4. WISDOM OF ISRAEL.
a. Wisdom came from home. Clan / tribe; wisdom was given in stories & folklore, this was before formal education Prov 2:1; 3:1. ‘my son   ‘
b. Wisdom was taught in the palaces. Literary wisdom, formal wisdom.
Prov 16:12-15; 25:2-7.
Your princes / courtiers were trained before coming to power.
c. Wisdom was taught in Wisdom school by professional teachers. One of such teachers was Sirach. They only taught young men, women were not allowed.
They taught using proverbs = Mashal Hb = to compare.
Words like / as compare.
Two elements in mashal à experience , teaching.
A proverb as an high intellectual achievement.
d. In Israelite wisdom one finds a divine element, controlled & guided by God. As Israels pursuit for wisdom & her thinking develops there emerges a concept & the fear of the Lord as is identified with wisdom. Prov 1:7. Fear of the Lord is not physical fear or dangers or punishment but the awe of God, reverential God. Reverential awe in the presence of God. Reverential astonishment of the power of God. Fear of God is the reverential obedience to God. Sirac. 1:18; 1:16; 1:20.
 
II 5a. Theological Aspect of Wisdom.
Wisdom Vs Folly
Wisdom always leads to prosperity / Folly leads to disaster
A good or evil deed produces a good or evil consequence. Deut 28-30; 28:1.
Divine Retribution Prov 26:27; Ps 7:15-16.
If you do good à good consequence.
If you do evil à evil consequence.
Job : Why does bad happen to good people ?
There is a deed consequence, order of things established in creation & watched by God. Lord is frequently portrayed as intermediating directly in human existence either punishing or rewarding Jer 1:11; Prov 10:3-27. Sometimes God relents of the evil he intends to inflict Jonah / Nineweh. A breakthrough was made with the book of Wisdom. The great promise of Wisdom was life, but it was limited to this life of sheol.
The author of Wisdom states that justice is undying wisdom 1:15, in another words wisdom or justice does lead to life even beyond death. With this arises a very
 
 
 
 
 
 
primitive concept of immortality. Immortality is understood from the point of view of ones relation with God & righteousness of wisdom is the key to future life in the Lord.
 
II 5b Creation.
It is believed that it had a good relationship with nature.
The most characteristic feature of Israel understanding of reality lay in the first instance in the fact that she believes man to stand in a specific & highly dynamic existential relationship with his environment à Von Rad.
Job 12:7-9. Learn the activity of God from nature. Prov 30:15-31.
Creation not only offers the raw material for human development but also serves a line of communication with God Ps 19:1-6.
Von Rad The experience of the world were for Israel always divine experience as well as experience of God were for her experience of the world.
 
II 5c. Personification of Wisdom. Job 28:12-28.
Access of wisdom only by the fear of the Lord. Prov Ch 1, 8, 9. lady Wisdom.
Prov 1:20; 1:26 Wisdom speaks as an OT prophet.
9:1-6 Wisdom has prepared a banquet for the simple ones.
9:13-18 foolishness
8:3-6 longest personification of wisdom.
Von Rad : She is the self revelation of creation, yet somehow present in creation. Sirac 1:9-10. Wisdom cannot be seen apart from the Lord, from whom she originates. She is the yoke of the Lord the revelation of God. She is the divine summons issued in & through creation who finds her delight among the human beings God has created. Prov 8:31.
Wisdom there is a communication of God through creation to human beings.
Sirac 24:- ; Wisd Ch 7-9; Baruch 3:9; 4:4.
 
Who is Lady Wisdom.
a.                 A spirit that fills the world. Wisd 1:6-7.
b.                 She is an effusion of divine glory a refulgence (shine) of eternal light
     Wisd 7:7-22.
c.                  She shares the divine throne Wis 9:4.
d.                 She passes into holy souls from age to age 7:27.
e.                 She shows herself as saviour Ch 10.
 
 
Conclusion: Xt is later called the wisdom of God 1 Cor 1:24; Heb 1:3;
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