Timothy J. Sandoval

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

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Up to 2000, it was common to hear of the relative neglect of the study of Proverbs and Wisdom literature in biblical studies. Those days are over. Since about 1970, in fact, study of the Israelite Wisdom tradition, and the Book of Proverbs in particular, a leading exemplar of that tradition, has exploded. There is no longer any shortage of introductory texts, commentaries, and specialized monographs on Proverbs. The watershed moment is usually traced back to the publication of Gerhard von Rad’s Weisheit in Israel (1970). Von Rad lent his considerable weight as a “senior statesman” of biblical criticism to the study of Proverbs and the Wisdom literature, producing a masterful and provocative monograph, to which scholars still, almost in obligatory fashion, often situate their work. The same year, William McKane published his important and much-discussed commentary. Yet even before 1970, there were significant signs of life in Proverbs and Wisdom studies. In 1965 both McKane and R. N. Whybray each published significant works, and 1968 saw the appearance of Hans-Jürgen Hermisson’s important monograph and Michael Fox’s study of the religion of Proverbs. The relative lack of attention to Proverbs in the mid-20th century is usually attributed to the fact that its status as a species of ancient Near Eastern “international” Wisdom literature, which did not much concern itself with leading Hebrew Bible/Old Testament themes such as the Exodus and Covenant, was well established soon after Budge’s publication of the Egyptian Instruction of Amenemope in 1923. As a result, Proverbs and Wisdom studies often took a backseat to the study of other biblical books and themes, especially those whose leading religious ideas were of much significance to the many scholars concerned with biblical theology. By 1963, however, Brevard Childs had famously announced, perhaps prematurely, the demise of the biblical theology movement, and the stage was set for a new era in Proverbs studies with the appearance of von Rad’s seminal text.

Article.  8476 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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