An Introduction to Reading Biblical Wisdom Texts is designed for undergraduate students and laypersons who are studying Scripture. Part One poses fundamental questions addressed by the genre of wisdom literature, explores definitions of wisdom and folly from the biblical perspective, describes the characteristics and forms of wisdom poetry, and places Israel’s wisdom tradition in a wider historical-cultural context. Part Two addresses the practical wisdom associated with Proverbs, treating both the contents and the academic questions that arise. Parts Three and Four focus on Ecclesiastes and Job, respectively, and on the interpretive challenges they raise. Finally, Part Five recognizes the place of Song of Songs in the wisdom tradition. This text is a highly accessible and engagingly written introduction to the Bible’s wisdom literature and is built on a strong scholarly foundation.
Elaine A. Phillips has served as professor of biblical and theological studies at Gordon College (Wenham, MA) since 1993 and for the past two decades has also been a visiting professor at Jerusalem University College. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles on the Old Testament and has served on the editorial board of the Bulletin for Biblical Research. Phillips has received several distinguished teaching awards and regularly lectures on the Bible to both professional societies and lay audiences.