J. A. EMERTON
THE wisdom literature has moved towards the centre of interest of Old Testament scholars during the past quarter of a century. The following survey will, of necessity, be selective and will ignore much work, including some important work, concerned with the wisdom literature, such as studies of language, text, and versions, and it will be impossible even to list the relevant commentaries. The Apocrypha too will be almost entirely left out of consideration, notwithstanding the valuable work that has been done on Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon. I have, rather, chosen several questions in modern scholarly work on the wisdom literature of the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament, and sought to give some account of the principal developments.1 The subjects that have received most attention include the literary forms of Israelite wisdom, its sociological background, the understanding of life in the book of Proverbs, and the relation of the wisdom literature of Israel to that of other peoples of the ancient Near East. A list of the books and articles to which reference is made will be found at the end.
Throughout the period of scholarship with which this book is concerned, work on non-Israelite wisdom literature has continued, and it has formed the background to developments in the study of the Old Testament. It is not the purpose of the present essay to survey recent study of wisdom in the ancient Near East in general, but it is necessary to mention some of it briefly.____________________