This volume examines biblical wisdom literature both in its historical context and as it relates to a host of contemporary themes, including overcoming social divisions, reading from a place of inclusion, healing from trauma, and challenging religious attitudes toward climate change and animals.
This volume delivers fresh insights on biblical wisdom texts, exploring ways in which wisdom literature speaks perennially to the human condition despite the differences in societies then and now. Employing both biblical studies and theological approaches, the diverse group of authors in this collection examine biblical wisdom literature from a variety of perspectives and methodologies to illuminate the relevance of wisdom for ancient audiences such as exiles, scribes, and leaders, as well as for contemporary audiences concerned with challenges such as climate change, social division, and healing from trauma. Its eleven chapters utilize an accessible style that brings erudite scholarship on biblical wisdom to a broader audience.
Biblical Wisdom, Then and Now will be an invaluable resource for undergraduates, graduates, and specialists in biblical studies, as well as the more general reader with an interest in biblical literature and its reception.
Table of Contents
List of contributors
Foreword by Alan J. Hauser
Preface by Frances Flannery
Introduction and Case Study
"Wisdom for Challenging Times: Ecclesiastes, Job, and a Vote for Compassionate Theology"
Nicolae Roddy and Frances Flannery
PART ONE. The Wisdom Tradition Then
Wisdom for the Exiled: An Intertextual Approach
Katharine J. Dell
Wisdom for the Scribe: Ritual and the Life of the Scribe in Sirach
Rodney A. Werline
Wisdom for the King: Wisdom for Rulers through History
Lowell K. Handy
PART TWO. The Wisdom Tradition Now
Wisdom for Those in the Image of God: An Eco-Theological Reading of Human and Serpentine Knowledge in Genesis 1-3
Wisdom for Evangelical Christians: Reading the Bible Wisely in Relation to Climate Change
Wisdom for the Animals and the Cosmos: The Psalms and Anthropocentric Religion
Wisdom for the Silenced: Reading Psalm 32 as Cautionary Counsel in Response to 2 Samuel 13-19
Charles A. Packer
Wisdom for All: Reading the Liberating "I" of the Psalms
Beth LaNeel Tanner
Wisdom for the Imagination: Hammering Heaven in William Blake’s Illuminated Books
Wisdom for Haters: Biblical Wisdom as an Antidote to Othering
Frances Flannery is Professor of Religion at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA. She teaches courses in biblical studies, religion and culture, and intelligence analysis. She is a specialist in the intersection of biblical studies and contemporary challenges, especially as concerns climate change, violent extremism, peacebuilding, and intergroup dialogue. She has authored two monographs (Dreamers, Scribes and Priests: Jewish Dreams in the Hellenistic and Roman Eras, 2004; Understanding Apocalyptic Terrorism: Countering the Radical Mindset, Routledge, 2016), two other edited volumes (The Bible and Political Debate: What Does it Really Say?, 2016; Experientia, Volume One: Inquiry into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity, 2008), and over fifty peer-reviewed articles or chapters.
Nicolae Roddy is Professor of Theology at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, USA. An Eastern (Romanian) Orthodox biblical scholar, Roddy teaches Hebrew Bible / Older Testament courses, as well as early Jewish and Christian history in Creighton’s Honors program. Roddy is a former Fulbright scholar to Romania. He currently serves as Visiting Professor for the Jewish Studies Center in the Faculty of Letters at the University of Bucharest, teaching ancient Jewish history and biblical archaeology. For twenty years, Dr. Roddy served as co-director and area supervisor for the Bethsaida Archaeology project. He is author of The Romanian Version of the Testament of Abraham: Text, Translation, and Cultural Context (2001) and three edited volumes, as well as numerous peer-reviewed book chapters, articles, and archaeological reports.
"This collection of essays in honor of Ken Kuntz does exactly what such a collection can do best. It permits contributors great freedom to move in new interpretive directions. It permits all of these probes to cluster around a common theme, in this case, wisdom. And it offers suggestive linkages to the work of the honoree. This collection of essays offers fresh perspective and makes important links between the work of the text and the deep crises of our society. It reflects on the "fractured morality" in a world where God’s governance is at best hidden. It is suitable offer of tribute to Ken Kuntz. I am glad to add my affirmation to this salute to my friend and school mate."
—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia, USA
"This collection of essays is an excellent and well-deserved tribute to J. Kenneth Kuntz, beloved teacher, friend, and scholar, whose keen insights into wisdom literature has made an enduring contribution to biblical scholarship. Thematically centered on how wisdom literature continues to speak to a wide range of contemporary issues (e.g., refugees and immigrants, ecology and environmental crises, sustainable scholarly practices, wise leadership, and discrimination in the #MeToo Era), these essays ably reflect the "scholarly broadmindedness" of this incredible "ambassador of ancient texts." Hearty congratulations, Ken!"
—Samuel E. Balentine, Professor of Old Testament Emeritus, Union Presbyterian Seminary, USA
"Few topics in biblical studies stimulate reflection on the present state of things as readily as wisdom does. In this unusually coherent but wide-ranging volume, Flannery and Roddy have assembled excellent studies of wisdom that both investigate its early history and explore its significance for the contemporary world. In this fitting tribute to the work of J. Kenneth Kuntz, readers will find substantive contributions to current scholarship as well as stimulating essays on surprising aspects of wisdom that have become conspicuous in recent years."
—Michael C. Legaspi, Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Pennsylvania State University, USA
"Of the many students Professor J. Kenneth Kuntz taught across the years, some became professors themselves. The superb essays in this book testify to the success of both his labors and theirs. Employing varieties of methods, the essays explore wisdom literature in the ancient biblical world and connect the findings to contemporary issues. Politics, economy, ecology, othering, gender and intersectionality indicate the wide range of connections. Analyses of the past illuminate the present. In so offering tributes to their esteemed professor, these talented teachers provide rich nourishment for receptive readers. Thereby this first-rate Festschrift becomes a blessing."
—Phyllis Trible, Baldwin Professor Emerita of Sacred Literature, Union Theological Seminary, New York, USA