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A Rhetorical and Theological Study on the Personified Woman Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2021, 27(1), pp.131-165
  • DOI : 10.24333/jkots.2021.27.1.131
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology
  • Received : January 7, 2021
  • Accepted : February 9, 2021

Keun Jo Ahn 1

1호서대

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper claims that the personified woman wisdom in the book of Proverbs is a theological entity rhetorically employed by wise scribes in the post-exilic period. Previous scholarship has discussed the woman wisdom in various ways: female deity derived from neighbouring culture, a contrast to ‘strange woman,’ hypostatization of divine reality, the order of creation and so on. Yet, analyses of each text of the personified wisdom(1:20-33, 8:1-36, 9:1-6) elucidate that the metaphor of wisdom reveals Israelite original device of theological concept to emphasize the fear of Yahweh. Proverbs 1:20-33 indicates prophetic voice of judgment on the unfaithful. 8:1-36 integrates traditional teaching of the wise with innovative song of pre-existing wisdom before creation. 9:1-6 declares the fullness of life in the house of wisdom, which shows a contrast to the destruction in the house of foolish woman in 9:13-18. Personification of woman wisdom does not suit with androcentric culture of the ancient Israel. However, the wisdom group utilizes this female metaphor in order to explain the inscrutability of God and the marvelous way of creation. This mystery of woman wisdom leads people to the way of the pious in the fear of Yahweh. This paper contributes to finding not only the rhetorical and theological significance of woman wisdom but also later development of Israelite wisdom tradition which is related to interpretations of the personified woman wisdom.

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