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A Research on the Studies of Proverbs 1-9 in Pursuit of the Methodology of Wisdom Literature

Keun Jo Ahn 1

1호서대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to research current studies on Proverbs 1-9 to find methodologies in wisdom literature. Proverbs chs. 1-9 have been discussed as a theological wisdom corpus. Most of the scholarly works are categorized in six interpretive methods as follow. First, historical-critical analysis has been chiefly utilized in studies on those texts. It regards the corpus as a collection of various materials of wisdom tradition. However, Yahwism is considered as the unifying factor among the different resources. Second, religious studies has focused on the influence of the ancient Near Eastern backgrounds of neighboring culture upon Israelite wisdom. In particular, the personified wisdom is occasionally compared with Egyptian ma'at. Yet, originality of the Lady Wisdom in Proverbs is sustained. Third, literary approaches maintain the literary unity of the corpus and read it through rhetorical critical methods or inter-textual analyses. They highlight poetics of the proverbs 1-9 and incessant flow of the wisdom tradition from the Torah or the prophetic literature. Fourth, sociological studies on the corpus call interpreters' attention. We do not know the existence of schools in ancient Israel. Yet, some scholars discuss that there must be temple school or scribal family school in the second temple period of Israel. Wisdom literature itself derives from this Persian social matrix. Fifth, conceptual researches on the texts attempt to read the chapters 1-9 through a specific and coherent idea. Feminist critical approach on the corpus also shows a consistent rendering on those texts. Finally, integral readings put together both interests in the final shape of those texts and the compositional process of their formation. The textuality of the Proverbs 1-9 is the primary concern of the interpreters. However, integral readers also take a careful examination on the historical development of literary traditions in the corpus. They criticize the later theologization of Yahwism of the corpus. Instead, education and faith were identical elements of Israelite wisdom from the beginning.

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