A Renowned Scholar Examines Wisdom in the Old Testament
Wisdom plays an important role in the Old Testament, particularly in Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. This major work from renowned scholar Tremper Longman III examines wisdom in the Old Testament and explores its theological influence on the intertestamental books, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and especially the New Testament.
Longman notes that wisdom is a practical category (the skill of living), an ethical category (a wise person is a virtuous person), and most foundationally a theological category (the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom). The author discusses Israelite wisdom in the context of the broader ancient Near East, treats the connection between wisdom in the New Testament and in the Old Testament, and deals with a number of contested issues, such as the relationship of wisdom to prophecy, history, and law.
Praise for The Fear of the Lord is Wisdom:
Stephen B. Chapman, Duke University:
Israel’s wisdom literature has long been misunderstood as secular and experiential, a foreign import and therefore a human response to the challenges of life rather than a divine word. By building on newer work demonstrating wisdom’s religious roots and revelatory character, Longman masterfully explores the theological particularity of Israel’s wisdom tradition. The result is an excellent introduction for students and the general Christian reader, as well as a fitting culmination of Longman’s career-long engagement with this literature.
Carol M. Kaminski, professor of Old Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary:
With masterful elegance Longman navigates through the topic of wisdom in the Old Testament, making a compelling and exegetically rich argument that wisdom is not independent of the redemptive-historical narrative of the Old Testament but intrinsic to it. Insightful and refreshing, this brilliant exposition of wisdom is a must read for anyone seeking a more coherent theology of wisdom and its place in the canon.
John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary:
Longman doesn’t get swept away by fashions, but neither does he dismiss ideas merely because they are new. He looks at them with interest but keeps a cool head. So he is the kind of person that the wise men and women of Israel would appreciate, and he appreciates them. His book is a balanced and informative introduction both to a ‘distinctive but not discordant note’ within the Old Testament and to its theological message.
Mark J. Boda, McMaster Divinity College
Longman once again makes the riches of the Old Testament accessible to readers today. After unpacking the core texts related to the wisdom tradition in the Old Testament, he highlights key features that prepare us to read these texts theologically with greater sensitivity to their historical and canonical contexts.
Buy the books
The Fear of the Lord Is Wisdom: A Theological Introduction to Wisdom in Israel