Sunday 10 February 2019

Recommendations on Biblical Wisdom

I wrote the following mini reviews for a recent edition of Highlights, produced by the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

The Bible Project – Wisdom series

With their combination of creative animation and careful narration, The Bible Project videos – freely available online – say a lot and say it well. Their ‘Wisdom Series’ introduces Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes, exploring how all three show what living well in God’s world looks like, each one offering their distinctive perspective on the ‘good life’, and all affirming that the journey to becoming wise begins with the fear of the Lord.
Tremper Longman III, The Fear of the Lord is Wisdom: A Theological Introduction to Wisdom in Israel (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017).

This is the best work for those looking for a comprehensive treatment of wisdom in the Bible. In addition to introducing the main biblical wisdom books, Longman explores the presence of wisdom elsewhere in the Old Testament, the characteristics of Israelite wisdom in its ancient setting, some debated issues in the study of biblical wisdom, and the presence of wisdom in subsequent Jewish writings and the New Testament. Highly recommended.

Elaine A. Phillips, An Introduction to Reading Biblical Wisdom Texts (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2017).

Reading this book is like having a personal tutorial with an expert teacher and guide, someone with that rare ability to communicate complex ideas concisely and well. With brief chapters, engagingly written but rooted in careful scholarship, Phillips offers a wonderfully accessible introduction to wisdom and an overview of the Bible’s wisdom books (including Song of Songs), with a mixture of reflection on content and discussion of issues of interpretation.

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