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Wisdom - CPDV

Wis, Ws, Wisdom of Solomon

The Book of Wisdom - CPDV

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Below you will also find the summary of this book.

The Book of Wisdom CPDV summary

Purpose of The Book of Wisdom:
The book of Wisdom was probably written to encourage Jews living in the Diaspora, those who weren't living in Israel. The author tries to make Biblical traditions relevant to Jews in new situations. He realizes that they live in a secular culture and how difficult it is for them to maintain their culture. So his intention is to highlight God's concern for man. He uses wisdom teachings to make known deep truths about God as revealed in Bible stories and texts. His main point is to press the validity of Jewish faith for contemporary times. It is an ongoing issue for persons of faith in every age.
The book is addressed to the rulers of the earth, urging them to love righteousness and seek wisdom; the wicked think that all is chance and that they should enjoy each day, but they are deluded.

Summary of The Book of Wisdom:
The first of the book’s three sections is written in poetic form and is concerned with fostering enthusiasm for religious belief and practice, with emphasis on the superiority of belief over impiety. The second, mixing poetry and prose, praises Wisdom. The third, likewise a mixture of poetic and prose styles, attempts to prove that Wisdom has guided all of Israelite history.

Author and Dates of The Book of Wisdom:
Despite some variations in writing style, most scholars now think the book was written by one individual who remains anonymous. Nonetheless, some assumptions about the author can be made. He was a Hellenistic Jew, probably living in Egypt (more than likely in Alexandria because that city was well known for its Hellenization of Judaism - the blending of Jewish and Greek cultures). Alexandria was the birthplace of the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible). Our author would have been familiar with these traditions. He was equally proficient in Greek philosophy and the Jewish scriptures (even though he modified some of the Biblical stories to suit his purposes). He valued his faith and held to the belief that God's sovereignty was what mattered. The book was originally written in Greek and, because it relies upon OT stories in the Septuagint, it was probably written somewhere between 250BCE-50CE

Outline of The Book of Wisdom:

  1. The Reward of Righteousness (1:1–6:21).
  2. Praise of Wisdom by Solomon (6:22–11:1).
  3. Special Providence of God During the Exodus (11:2–16; 12:23–27; 15:18–19:22) with digressions on God’s mercy (11:17–12:22) and on the folly and shame of idolatry (13:1–15:17).

Themes of The Book of Wisdom:
The primary purpose of the author was the edification of his co-religionists in a time when they had experienced suffering and oppression, in part at least at the hands of apostate fellow Jews. To convey his message he made use of the most popular religious themes of his time. The book opens with the opposed pairs righteousness/unrighteousness and death/immortality: those who do not follow righteousness will fall into "senseless reasoning" and will not be open to wisdom; wisdom is not an inherent human quality nor one that can be taught, but comes from outside, and only to those who are prepared through righteousness. The suffering of the righteous will be rewarded with immortality, while the wicked will end miserably. The unrighteous are doomed because they do not know God's purpose, but the righteous will judge the unrighteous in God's presence. Lady Wisdom dominates the next section, in which Solomon speaks. She existed from the Creation, and God is her source and guide. She is to be loved and desired, and kings seek her: Solomon himself preferred Wisdom to wealth, health, and all other things. She in turn has always come to the aid of the righteous, from Adam to the Exodus. The final section takes up the theme of the rescue of the righteous, taking the Exodus as its focus: "You (God) have not neglected to help (your people the Jews) at all times and in all places." (Wisdom 19:22)

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