Jesus the Sage: The Pilgrimage of Wisdom

Jesus the Sage: The Pilgrimage of Wisdom

Jesus the Sage: The Pilgrimage of Wisdom

Jesus the Sage: The Pilgrimage of Wisdom

Synopsis

"Entering into the renewed and sometimes confusing attempts to comprehend the work of Jesus of Nazareth and his person, Ben Witherington guides the reader through a vast complex of ancient documents and contemporary questions. He shows that Jesus' contemporaries viewed Jesus as a Jewish prophetic sage whose teaching and style were a reflection of the convergence of Hebrew wisdom and prophetic forms and ideas." "Witherington traces the path of wisdom from its earliest manifestations in the Hebrew Bible to its importance in the work of Jesus and then to its apparent influence on the Christology of Paul and other New Testament writers." "The result is a masterful contribution to scholarship, written with verve and clarity." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This book is yet another example of the fact that not many people have heeded the sagacious warning of the final redactor of Ecclesiastes about the production of books (Eccles. 12.12). When I began this study I had no idea of the enormity of the task I was setting for myself. As a New Testament scholar I had assumed that Wisdom literature, being a subject widely neglected in many if not most scholarly circles until about twenty-five years ago, would be a manageable topic for a monograph, especially since my concern was with some specific matters such as how Wisdom literature developed over time and the degree of indebtedness of portions of the New Testament to sapiential material and ways of thinking. I was especially interested in the degree of indebtedness of early Jewish-Christian thinking about Jesus as the Christ to Wisdom ideas. Once I began to study in earnest, however, it became clear to me that a mastery of just the secondary literature on the subject, much less of Wisdom literature itself, was quite beyond the realm of possibility in a few years’ span. It is no accident that those who are leaders in this field on the American scene, and I am thinking in particular of R. E. Murphy and J. L. Crenshaw, have spent virtually their entire scholarly careers ruminating and writing on Wisdom literature. The primary dividends come only after long reflection on this intriguing, figurative, and often enigmatic literature. Thus, when I went outside my area of particular expertise, I relied heavily on scholars like Murphy and Crenshaw, or M. V. Fox and N. Habel, or C. Camp and C. Fontaine, or B. Lang and G. von Rad.

To those whose expertise is in Wisdom material, either in the Hebrew Scriptures or in Sirach or the Wisdom of Solomon, much of what I say in the first two chapters will seem rudimentary and all too familiar. I was not concerned in these chapters to offer bold new theories or ideas, but rather to collect and summarize the best insights of those who have gone before me in order to . . .

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