Discovering the Way of Wisdom: Spirituality in the Wisdom Literature

By Tu, Stephen J. H. | Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, June 2005 | Go to article overview

Discovering the Way of Wisdom: Spirituality in the Wisdom Literature


Tu, Stephen J. H., Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society


Discovering the Way of Wisdom: Spirituality in the Wisdom Literature. By Edward M. Curtis and John J. Brugaletta. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004, 240 pp., $15.99 paper.

In recent years there has been a renewed interest in spiritual formation. But as Edward M. Curtis and John J. Brugaletta observe in Discovering the Way of Wisdom, the OT has been largely neglected in recent literary contributions to this field (p. 9). The authors believe this to be a significant lacuna, and have written this book to fill the gap. The goal of the book is "to introduce the reader to the potential of Old Testament Wisdom Literature for teaching us about God's order and encouraging us to practice God's truth so as to get those principles written onto the tablets of our hearts" (p. 10). It is not a critical introduction to OT wisdom literature, but rather a work concerned with the devotional life of its readers.

Most of the book's 10 chapters, along with the preface, introduction, and conclusion, were written by Curtis, though the change in authorial voice, where it does occur, is neither abrupt nor distracting. Beginning with an introduction that explains why OT wisdom literature is important to the human dimension of sanctification (which to the authors is a term synonymous with spiritual formation), the book proceeds to discuss the value of OT wisdom literature for developing wisdom, shaping priorities, cultivating diligence, informing relationships, practicing meditation, understanding suffering, and various other related topics. Each chapter contains teaching not only from OT wisdom literature, but also other biblical books from both testaments. The book is peppered throughout with personal anecdotes and illustrations, largely from the authors' teaching experience. These help to drive home the principles the authors attempt to convey. Thoughtful questions for reflection conclude each chapter, and are similarly helpful for reviewing the material covered.

Unfortunately, the authors do not make clear in the introduction which biblical books and which individual psalms constitute OT wisdom literature. …

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