THE DISASSOCIATION OF KNOWLEDGE IN THE WISDOM LITERATURE
Jeremiah tells us that the law comes from the priest, the word from the prophet, and counsel from the wise. The emphasis on righteousness rather than on ritual in the eighth century prophets contained implicitly the recognition of the individual as a moral agent, but this view was not explicitly stated until the period of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The Wisdom Literature, most of which is post-exilic, seems to have in mind primarily the experience of the individual; it is cosmopolitan, humanistic; it appeals to the facts of universal experience. The priest with his ritual dealt with the people as a whole; the prophet through his oracular word preached to his ideal community; the wise took counsel with individuals ( Jeremiah 18:18). We shall see that the loss of the state was to Jeremiah the occasion of discovering the morality of the inner life, but the Wisdom writings constitute the field of Old Testament literature in which this inner world of reflective experience receives its clearest expression.
The problem of the book of Job was the result of a conflict between the new consciousness of individual responsibility set forth in Deuteronomy, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and the old ethnic conception of responsi-