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An Obituary for "Wisdom Literature"The Birth, Death, and Intertextual Reintegration of a Biblical Corpus$
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Will Kynes

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198777373

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198777373.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2022

The Ancestry of Wisdom Literature

The Ancestry of Wisdom Literature

Ancient Tradition or Modern Invention?

(p.60) 2 The Ancestry of Wisdom Literature
An Obituary for "Wisdom Literature"

Will Kynes

Oxford University Press

In order to identify the origins of the modern scholarly Wisdom tradition, this chapter evaluates the purported early “vestiges” of the category. These are (1) early views on the structure and order of the canonical books; (2) the association of a group of books with Solomon; (3) the ancient recognition of shared traits between books; and (4) the title Wisdom applied to several texts. This evidence does not, however, justify the common assertion that the Wisdom category has an ancient pedigree. To the degree that a category approaching the modern one existed at all, its contents and definition differed significantly, making it both quantitatively and qualitatively different from the current category. This indicates that Wisdom as we know it is instead a modern invention, and the accuracy of its depiction of ancient phenomena therefore merits more careful scrutiny than it has yet received.

Keywords:   canon, Septuagint, Writings, Solomon, Ben Sira, early Church, rabbis, Medieval interpretation, history of interpretation

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