Ecclesiastes is part of a literary corpus called "wisdom literature
." Significantly, the wisdom perspective was common to wider ancient Near Eastern culture and not merely to Israel, even when Hebrew wisdom, canonized in the text of the Old Testament, has remained with us more than its ancient counterparts.
"But there's absolutely no evidence of it." As he sees it, the aphorism is a different thing altogether from what he calls "wisdom literature
Firdawsi includes three pieces of wisdom literature
attributed to Ardashir: his a'in (customs and practices), andarz (advice) to his high officials, also called his khutba (throne speech), and his'ahd (testament), addressed to his son and successor Shapur or to his heirs collectively.
vital additions to that body of writing called wisdom literature
(A reader might be surprised to discover that the Jewish scriptures contain more than one, or even two, treatments of the origins of the natural world.) This culminates with a marvelous exegesis of the oldest and murkiest wisdom literature
of the Jewish/Christian scriptures: the Book of Job.
Among the topics are ethics in the wisdom literature
of the Old Testament, literary and linguistic matters in the book of Proverbs, reading Qohelet's building experiment with psychoanalytic spatial theory, the absence of wisdom in the wilderness, and Ben Sira's table manners and the social setting of his book.
Hermeneutics is the theory and methodology of text interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature
, and philosophical texts.
The editors note that their scholarly interests intersect in wisdom literature
and have therefore subtitled the Festschrift with a phrase from the prologue to the Book of Sirach, "opportunity for no little instruction." The underlying themes through which the essays of the volume coalesce include Harrington and Clifford's shared concern for the Jewish world of the New Testament and the reappropriation of texts and traditions in new faith contexts.
The actual texts included are too numerous to mention here, but among them are the Septuagint; the Book of Jubilees; Pseudo-Philo's Book of Biblical Antiquities; generous selections of the writings of Philo and Josephus; various testaments, including the Testament of Abraham and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs; wisdom literature
, such as the Wisdom of Solomon and the Wisdom of Ben Sira; stories set in biblical and early post-biblical times, such as Joseph and Asenath, Judith, and Tobit; historical writings from post-biblical times, including 1 and 2 Maccabees; and numerous sectarian texts found at Qumran, such as the Rule of the Community and the Temple Scroll.
After posing a particular contemporary problem where wisdom is sorely needed, each group meeting begins with spiritual exercises, including considering an event or teaching from the life of Jesus, an Old Testament passage from the wisdom literature
, and a time of silent waiting with the goal of experiencing the light of Christ in the present moment.
I am not really a big fan of "self-help" literature; I think of the books I have referred to as "wisdom literature
Adams arranges his results in five chapters: family life and marriage, the status of women and children, work and financial exchanges, taxation and the role of the state, and the ethics of wealth and poverty in wisdom literature