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The Sword and the Stylus: An Introduction to Wisdom in the Age of Empires [Paperback]

Our Price $ 33.44  
Retail Value $ 38.00  
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Item Number 84991  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   502
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.26" Width: 6.27" Height: 1.11"
Weight:   1.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2008
Publisher   WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING CO.
ISBN  0802862454  
EAN  9780802862457  


Availability  1 units.
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Item Description...
Overview
The all-too-frequent disregard of historical and social contexts by many wisdom scholars often leads to the distortion of this literature and transforms its teachings into abstract ideas lacking any incarnation in the social and historical world of human living. Leo Perdue here argues that the proper understanding of ancient wisdom literature requires one to move out of the realm of philosophical idealism into flesh-and-blood human history. Arguing that wisdom was international in practice and outlook, Perdue traces the interaction between both ruling and subject nations and their sages who produced their respective cultures and their foundational worldviews. While not always easy to reconstruct, he acknowledges, the historical and social settings of texts provide necessary contexts for interpretation and engagement by later readers and hearers. Wisdom texts did not transcend their life settings to espouse values regardless of time and circumstance. Rather, they are located in a variety of historical events in an evolving nation, reflecting a vast array of different and changing moral systems, epistemologies, and religious understandings.

Publishers Description
The all-too-frequent disregard of historical and social contexts by many wisdom scholars often leads to the distortion of this literature and transforms its teachings into abstract ideas lacking any incarnation in the social and historical world of human living. Leo Perdue here argues from a sociohistorical approach that the proper understanding of ancient wisdom literature requires one to move out of the realm of philosophical idealism into the flesh and blood of human history.

Arguing that wisdom was international in practice and outlook, Perdue traces the interaction between both ruling and subject nations and their sages who produced their respective cultures and their foundational worldviews. While not always easy to reconstruct, he acknowledges, the historical and social settings of texts provide necessary contexts for interpretation and engagement by later readers and hearers. Wisdom texts did not transcend their life settings to espouse values regardless of time and circumstance. Rather, they are located in a variety of historical events in an evolving nation, reflecting a vast array of different and changing moral systems, epistemologies, and religious understandings.

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More About Leo G. Perdue

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Leo G. Perdue is Professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX, USA. He is the author of numerous books, including Wisdom and Creation: The Theology of Wisdom Literature (Abingdon, 1994, Second printing, 1995), After the Collapse of History: New Approaches to Biblical Theology (Fortress. 2005), and Sword and Stylus: An Invitation to Wisdom in the Age of Empires (Eerdmans, 2008). He is the series editor for The Library of Biblical Theology at Abingdon Press and Vandenhoeck &Ruprecht's Library of Wisdom. He is the English editor The Biblical Encyclopedia (Kohlhammer, Deutsch; SBL Press, English).

Leo G. Perdue has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Blackwell Companions to Religion
  2. Family, Religion, and Culture
  3. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching & Preaching
  4. Library of Biblical Theology
  5. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies
  6. Overtures to Biblical Theology


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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible Study > General   [2774  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
excellent resource, but badly in need of editing  Jun 30, 2008
This long-awaited book by one of the preeminent scholars of biblical Wisdom, Leo Perdue, was originally scheduled for publication in November 2007. For reasons unknown to me, it was continuously delayed, being released in June 2008. Perhaps there was some problem, but the result is a book that could have been greatly improved with a major edit. As it is, there are countless repetitions of fact and argument, some on the same page, others a few pages or more apart. It distracted from what was otherwise a very helpful resource.

On the merits, Dr. Perdue has shown many valuable connections between specific biblical and apocryphal Jewish texts and the various empires which held sway over Israel over a six hundred year period, from the Babylonians to the Romans. He shows clearly how each book came out of an elite sage in a privileged position within a colonial context and how each sage grappled in his own way with the ways of life embodied by the occupying power. For instance, he shows how the book of Job was not intended to address the abstract question of "way bad things happen to good people" (although it certainly can be read that way) but rather, to address the experience of the "innocent" rural landowners (like the fictional Job) who were exiled along with the Jerusalem elite to Babylon. Similarly, we can hear the voice of Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes) as a skeptical voice of protest against the accommodations of Ptolemaic (Greek) rule over Judah.

Also helpfully, Perdue shows how the wisdom streams flow into the separate branch of what became the protest movement of apocalyptic and the eventual establishment movement of rabbinic Judaism.

Perdue is obviously very well read and his bibliography is an up-to-the-minute compendium of thought on a wide range of topics. It would have been a GREAT book if it had been more carefully and thoroughly edited into a concise sourcebook, but it is still certainly worth the time and money.
 

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