Wisdom of Solomon

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Wisdom of Solomon

Wisdom of Solomon or Wisdom, early Jewish book included in the Septuagint and the Vulgate but not in the Hebrew Bible. The book opens with an exhortation to seek wisdom, followed by a statement on worldly attitudes. Chapter 3 is an eloquent passage on the immortality of the just and the rewards of the wicked, amplified in the next chapters. Then follows another exhortation and a transition to a section praising wisdom, ending with a prayer for it. The remainder of the book is a history of God's care of the Jews from the beginning, with a long parenthesis on the natural origin of idolatry and its folly. The style and content of the book lend themselves to quotation; for example, St. Paul's letters allude to passages from Wisdom. The book is probably of Alexandrian Jewish authorship—most scholars place the date in the two centuries before Jesus. Some see in it a composite work of three parts: chapters 1–6, 7–9, and 10–19, of which the third is said to resemble a PassoverHaggada. It is the paragon of what is called wisdom literature, a term for the Jewish philosophical writings of the pre-Christian era. The following books of the Hebrew Bible also represent this type: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Sirach.

See D. Winston, The Wisdom of Solomon (1979). See also under Old Testament Apocrypha.

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