Christina Estright Sal Bello Regina Brecker Megan Hanson Ryan McFadden Matt Pascarella Mike Predi Period 7 Group 5
Judah/Judea under Babylonian control, then Persian, Greek, and Roman rule
Resulted in the dispersion
Old Testament books were made at different times after the exile and with a lot of foreign influence
Focus on 6 wisdom books in this chapter:
- Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Sirach, Tobit, Judith, Esther, and Jonah
Influence came from non-Jewish cultures in the Near East, especially in Egypt
Told people how to act
Jews adapted this wisdom for Israel’s faith
Tell about the wholeness and integrity of a good life, and the badness of sin
The goal was to inspire integrity .
Appeared during the time of the second Temple
Consists of several collections of wisdom teachings; intended to instruct the young
Concerned with leading a good life and is full of down-to-earth practical advice
Success and poverty are the rewards/sufferings of a good life
God is not mentioned in proverbs, but the Israelites believed that true wisdom comes from God
Wisdom is portrayed as a woman who was with God at Creation as the master worker
Adds a feminine voice/quality to the traditional Jewish image of a masculine God
Feminine image is called ‘Lady Sophia’
Some of these wisdom passages reference Mary, and she is sometimes called the ‘Seat of Wisdom’
The writers taught that a virtuous life brings success and prosperity
Most Jews at this time did not believe in an afterlife where the good could be rewarded and evil punished.
They believed rewards and punishments would be given out in this life only
Many people today struggle with the same questions. The dilemma of why the good suffer and the wicked prosper in this life is known as the problem of evil.
The author of Job wrote a poetic story about a man who suffers, and bears his suffering patiently, and not questioning God.
When he complains about his life, God reminds him that He is the creator of the universe who sustains everything in existence.
Job accepts this truth and his life
Christians believe that all suffering is caused by original sin
Some things are simply beyond the grasp of the human mind, and all we can do is bow before the mystery of God.
The message of the Book of Job is that even in the darkest moments; God is loving and caring for us all.
Ecclesiastes is a Greek word for the name Qoheleth, which is Hebrew for “teacher.”
The book is known for what appears to be a pessimistic outlook on life
All things, including reward for the righteous and punishment for the wicked, will be accomplished in God’s time, though we cannot expect to understand God’s ways
Life is a mystery we cannot solve, and we must accept and enjoy it as a gift from God
The author of the Book of Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon) was a scholarly Jew who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, sometime after 100 BC
This author also struggled with the problem of evil.
He refused to accept the conventional wisdom that God rewards goodness and punishes sin in this life.
The answer for this was that rewards and punishments will not necessarily come in this life – the soul’s destiny lies beyond this life
At the final judgment the wicked will see that their wealth and success are not rewardable in eternal life.
This concept indicates the author’s exposure to Greek thought. Generally the Jews saw the person as a whole, inseparable being. When physical life ended, there was no way for a person to live on except in people’s memories.
The Greeks introduced the concepts of body and soul to Judaism. With this, the Jewish sages could see the possibility of life beyond death.
Up to this time, any Jewish conception had more to do with restoring people to earthly life.
A man named Jesus ben Sirach ran a school for scriptural study and Jewish wisdom in Alexandria, Egypt, and wrote between 200and 175 BC. He wrote that all wisdom comes from God-not from Greek thought.
The Book of Sirach depicts wisdom as a woman who was with God at Creation-like the image described in the Book of Proverbs.
Sirach is deeply concerned with the history of Israel, its heroes, and its institutions. Wisdom’s home is in Israel.
Wisdom is found specifically in the teachings of Israel as given by God, and keeping the Commandments is the way to wisdom.
Sirach says that wisdom came forth from the mouth of God to make her dwelling with Jacob’s people.
He is reminding the Jews and us that God’s wisdom is far above the wisdom of the world.
Wisdom tests us with difficulties. Times of difficulty can be seed times, times for growing strong.
One of the Wisdom books, also called Song of Solomon
Various unknown authors, written after the Babylonian Exile (450 B.C.)
Doesn’t teach about wisdom-it’s a collection of love poems as a dialogue between a bride and groom
God’s gift to us is human love, designed by Him, and recognized as a holy bond
Wisdom offered to us is that love can overcome death
The Books of Tobit, Judith, and Esther are listed among the historical books of the Bible; Jonah is a prophetic book
The Book of Tobit -Wisdom tale about a faithful elder who is steadfast in the face of personal danger
The Book of Judith -Tale that defies ‘how woman are supposed to be’ by telling the story of a courageous woman
The Book of Esther -Tale of a queen who risks her life to save her people from a wicked ruler who wants to slay the people
The Book of Jonah - Funny portrayal of a fictional prophet who learns an important lesson: God’s love and mercy reach far and wide across cultural and religious boundaries
Written by an unknown author about 200 BC
Meant to encourage Jews to be righteous and patient during the Greek oppression
Tobit becomes discouraged because he has become blind with cataracts
Sarah also grieves her misfortune-every man she marries (seven men) died on their wedding night
Tobit and Sarah pray to God for the ending of their lives, and God sends the angel Raphael to intervene
Raphael accompanies Tobias, Tobit’s son, along a journey disguised as a man named Azariah
Along the way Raphael matches up Tobias with Sarah and they eventually marry
On their wedding night they both live and the husband-killing demon is banished.
They return home and find that Tobit has regained his eyesight
The Book of Tobit reminds us that in the end, faithful goodness and trust in God are rewarded with blessings.
The writer of Tobit was familiar with the folk literature at the time and the Book of Tobit shows traces of several ancient stories-among them one called “The Grateful Dead.”
The author was probably a Palestinian Jew around 150 BC
A young widow who was pious, disciplined, intelligent, fearless and charming.
She invents a plan: she will get inside Holofernes’ camp, and with God to make her strong, she will crush the enemy.
She enters the camp and charms Holofernes with her beauty. One night, he drinks too much, and while he’s asleep, Judith cuts off his head.
She prays to God for strength throughout her scheme, and with his help succeeds .
The author of the Book of Judith wanted to remind people that only trust in God brings victory.
She used assassination, deception, and enticement
This was tame compared to the brutality of ancient times, and used for entertainment.
This was not intended to be a moral story
The emphasis was put on the fact that she trusted completely in God as she used her wits and charm.
God worked through Judith’s talents and gifts .
Had two purposes :
To praise the goodness of God, who saved the Jews from annihilation and to explain the origin of the feast called Purim.
King Artaxerxes looks for a new wife among the people. Esther’s loveliness and simplicity immediately win the kings heart; however, she fails to admit she is a Jew.
The Prime Minister, Haman, is planning to slaughter all the Jews in the land, he convinces and persuades the king that the Jews are treasonous people.
Esther tries to plead for them three times and one the third time she has the courage to ask.
Esther tells the king that Haman wants to murder her, and the king hangs Haman.
The Jewish feast day of Purim honors the courage of Esther, who overcame her fears to save the people.
Jesus celebrated and it also put the Jews in high spirits.
Is listed as a prophetic book, but is only four chapters long
Uses humorous satire to make its serious point-
God’s mercy extends to all, not just the insiders .
Jonah is portrayed as a scatterbrained, self-serving fellow who sulks when God turns out to be more merciful to sinners than Johan expected or wanted.
God sends Jonah to Ninevah, to warn its people that their wickedness is about to be punished. Jonah believes that the Ninevites won’t do anything, so he does not warn them.
Instead he flees on a ship bound for a distant land. While on the ship a terrible storm forms. The ship’s crew blame Jonah and throw him off the boat.
Jonah gets swallowed by a fish for three days and nights, until the fish belches him up on shore.
God sends Jonah to Nineveh a second time, which Jonah reveals the message of the coming of their doom.
The people repent and God spares the city.
Jonah is not pleased.
The author of this satire wanted to remind his audience that God called Israel to light the rest of the world, not to assume that others were beyond reach of God’s love and the hope of salvation.
We may be tempted at times to think we are better than others; we may forget that the “worst people” are still loved by God and deserve our respect.
No one, no religion, culture, nation, or subgroup is beyond God’s reach.
We are all insiders when it comes to God’s mercy and love
Before Jesus, Judaism was an ongoing conversation with itself, God, and cultures
The Wisdom Books built up a rich tradition of insights on the meaning and purpose of life
These insights vary and give us a sense of depth of God’s wisdom, which cannot be understood by a single point of view
Values that are encouraged in these books are: generosity, faithfulness, trust, steadfastness, piety, heroic courage, humility, simplicity, and mercy
God inspired the stories and the conversations that produced them as gifts for all times
Christina Song: Michael Bublé - Lost
Tells of suffering – sometimes good people suffer and bad people prosper (key idea in Book of Job)
People think they are lost and everything is over for them – God tells us we will never be lost and that nothing is over in our lives
Can be related to in times of challenges and suffering – people in exile needed something to look forward to
Can be thought of as a conversation between a suffering human and God - the human saying they are lost, and God telling them they aren’t