Why is wisdom personified as a woman in the Old Testament book of Proverbs?
1Describe and evaluate the significance of the femalepersonification of wisdom in Proverbs.Bryony TaylorIntroductionThe personification of Wisdom as female in the book of Proverbs is unique in theHebrew bible – it is the most extensive personification we have in scripture1 and itsunique nature gives rise to a number of questions. Most striking amongst thesequestions is ‘why?’ – why, in a patriarchal culture, in a book written for the instructionof young men is the object of the instruction – the gaining of wisdom – presented in afemale form? In order to explore this question fully, I will look at the historical contextof the book of Proverbs, the literary context of the passages which personify wisdomand the theological considerations implied by the text.The book of Proverbs is ‘bookended’ by chapters 1-9 which many believe serve as anintroduction to the rest of the book of Proverbs2 and the song of the valiant woman inProverbs 31:10-31. These are the parts of the book of Proverbs that I will focus on inthis essay. Thus the female figure of Wisdom appears to dominate the whole book ofProverbs, both introducing it, enticing the reader to listen and in closing it with ahomely view of a multi-talented wife (who appears to have many of the attributes ofWoman Wisdom3). It could almost be said that the teachings of the book of Proverbs areheld in a warm embrace by Woman Wisdom, as Davis writes:1 Roland E. Murphy, ‘Can the Book of Proverbs Be a Player in “Biblical Theology”?’ Biblical TheologyBulletin: A Journal of Bible and Theology 31 (2001) 5.2Ibid, 6.3 Jane S. Webster, ‘Sophia: Engendering Wisdom in Proverbs, Ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon’Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 23 (1998) 66.
2‘The positioning of passages that feature women at the beginning and the end ofthe book suggests that for all practical purposes, how one reckons with thesewomen is the measure of whether one has achieved wisdom.’4It will be helpful to consider the nature of personification in the bible before moving onto looking at the historical, literary and theological context of these passages. Althoughthis extended personification of Wisdom is unique in the bible, personification of virtuesis something we find quite often5, for example:‘Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;righteousness and peace will kiss each other.’ Ps 85:10Crenshaw calls it a ‘tiny step to personified wisdom’6 from these personifications we seein the Psalms. Evidence of personification elsewhere in the bible, however, does notexplain the extended treatment Woman Wisdom gets in Proverbs – there must be otherinfluences, certainly on the cosmological references in Proverbs 87.Historical contextThere is some debate amongst scholars over the likely date of composition of the bookof Proverbs. The proverbs that make up the bulk of the whole book (chapters 10-30)could well come from the time of King Solomon (the fact that the proverbs areattributed to Solomon should not be ignored), many of them read as if they would applyduring a time of monarchy (see Pr 23:1-2 for example)8. Most scholars agree, however,that these ‘framing’ passages (Pr 1-9 and 31:10-31) were composed in the post-exilicperiod. There are a number of good pieces of evidence as to this that also help us tounderstand why Wisdom is personified as a woman.4 Ellen F. Davis, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,2000), 17.5 Richard J. Clifford, The Wisdom Literature (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998), 55.6 James L. Crenshaw, Old Testament Wisdom: an introduction (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,2010), 87.7Ibid, 87.8 Ellen F. Davis, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,2000), 15f.
3The position of women in Jewish society will have changed quite significantly post-exile9 – their role would have become more central as other institutions that providedfor people, such as the monarchy, had been destroyed. The primary place where thefaith could be taught and handed on would have been in the family10 – and we find thisto be the context of Proverbs 1-9:‘Hear, my child, your father’s instruction,and do not reject your mother’s teaching’ (Pr 1:8)Schroder suggests that the increased use of feminine forms and nouns in post-exilictexts may have been due to this shifted role of women in society.11 Davis also refers tothe fact that the song from Proverbs 31 is still sung on the Sabbath in orthodox Jewishhomes – without the Temple, the home is the ‘central social and religious institution’.12Roy Yoder points to the socio-economic realities of Persian-period women’s lives andhow they are reflected in Proverbs 31. She identifies archaeological evidence of thegrowth in commerce of Palestine in the Persian period and backs this up with referenceto Nehemiah’s description of Jerusalem’s ‘bustling’ marketplace13:‘In those days I saw in Judah people treading wine presses on the sabbath, andbringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys; and also wine, grapes,figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbathday; and I warned them at that time against selling food.’ (Neh 13:15)This seems to correspond well to:‘She is like the ships of the merchant,she brings her food from far away.’ (Pr 31:14)9 Silvia Schroder, Wisdom has built her house (Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2000), 31.10 Ellen F. Davis, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,2000), 17.11 Silvia Schroder, Wisdom has built her house (Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2000), 31.12 Ellen F. Davis, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,2000), 154.13 Christine Roy Yoder, ‘The Woman of Substance: A Socioeconomic reading of Proverbs 31:10-31’, JBL122/3 (2003), 440f.
4It is clear that, as Roy Yoder argues:‘life in Palestine was shaped by its place in the larger Persian realm. Certainly,this would include its views of women.’This is all evidence that would point to a post-exilic composition for Pr 1-9 and 31:10-31 and begins to help us understand something of why we encounter Wisdompersonified as a woman:‘the woman was to a great extent responsible for maintaining faithful living inIsrael. She had assumed many of the mediating, instructional, and guidingfunctions once performed by the important national figures of priest, prophetand king. No wonder, then, that when Wisdom came to be personified, it was as awoman, builder and sustainer of the household.’14Much has been made of the influence of the Near Eastern cultures surrounding Palestineon the book of Proverbs and in particular on the personification of Wisdom as a woman:‘The personification of wisdom in Proverbs is so distinctive that it has stimulatedscholars to search for its origins in other cultures.’15Many scholars have connected Woman Wisdom in Proverbs 8 to the Egyptian goddessMa’at. A lot of this comes from the very close connection in Proverbs 22 with theEgyptian Wisdom teaching of Amenemope16. However, as I have already discussed, theframing passages in Proverbs that involve women were likely written at a different timefrom the rest of the book – so there need not be such a direct link. Schroder goes so farto suggest that ‘personified Wisdom corresponds almost exactly to the Egyptiangoddess Maat’17. Clifford points out, however, that ‘Maat is not strongly personified; she14 Ellen F. Davis, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,2000), 18.15 Richard J. Clifford, The Wisdom Literature (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998), 55.16 Silvia Schroder, Wisdom has built her house (Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2000), 4.17Ibid, 3.
5gives no speeches in her own name’.18 There are certainly connections between WomanWisdom in Proverbs 8 and some of the goddesses that were worshipped at the time butI do not feel that there is an ‘exact’ connection – Woman Wisdom is distinctly Jewish incharacter – not a goddess but a personification of an attribute. She speaks in the style ofa goddess but isn’t actually a local goddess in disguise here:‘The style of self-praise which she adopts here was a common speech form inancient Near Eastern literature, and especially in the speech of goddesses.Wisdom never here claims divinity for herself; like the sages themselves, sheenjoins "the fear of the LORD".’19Links have also been made with Babylonian20 and Greek culture where there also wereconceptions of wisdom that were feminine such as the goddess Athene.21 The upshot ofthis is that the Hebrew sages were certainly not writing in a vacuum and were not alonein making this connection between wisdom and woman:‘it seems clear that the idea of women as a source of instruction was acceptablein Israelite wisdom literature; it is not, however, a idea specific to Israel.’22It is likely, then, that the Hebrew sages who composed Proverbs drew on all the localimagery available:‘there is nothing to suggest that redactors simply borrowed from a central set ofmodels, and every reason to believe that they shaped material in accordance withtheir own ideas and cultural contexts.’23 (my emphasis)18 Richard J. Clifford, The Wisdom Literature (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998), 55.19 Ellen F. Davis, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,2000), 62.20NiliShupak, ‘Female Imagery in Proverbs 1-9 in the Light of Egyptian Sources’ VetusTestamentum 61(2011) 310.21Michael S. Moore, ‘”Wise Women” or Wisdom Woman? A Biblical Study of Women’s Roles’ RestorationQuarterly 35/3 (1993), 148.22Stuart Weeks, Early Israelite Wisdom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 15f.23Ibid, 16.
6Witherington agrees and believes that ‘the biblical writer has used ideas andincorporated them into a new Yahwistic framework’.24Literary contextI have considered the post-exilic historical context of Proverbs 1-9 and 31:10-31, it willbe useful now to take a closer look as to what is happening in the text itself. What is thewriter trying to do? I think it is in this area that the most light can be shed on thesignificance of the personification of wisdom as female.It cannot be ignored that the book of Proverbs is androcentric25 – in that the mainaudience for it is young men seeking to learn from their elders:‘to teach shrewdness to the simple,knowledge and prudence to the young’ (Pr 1:4)The simplest explanation for the personification of wisdom as a woman in this contextof teaching young, excitable, men is that it is a pedagogical device. The beginnings of thebook of Proverbs present us with a family setting: the authority figures are the motherand father (Pr 1:8). As the argument progresses, Wisdom is introduced as a character.This cleverly enables the writer to use a persona to get across his point – Wisdomspeaks in his stead but in a much more vibrant powerful way than in his guise as‘father’. Which teenage boy listens to his father? Instead:‘The authors chose to communicate with us by means of personae instead ofdirectly in the authorial voice.’26This is not dissimilar to the employment of the dialogue form by Plato27 for teachingphilosophy in the gymnasia of Athens to young men. It is a device that has been used by24 Ben Witherington III, Jesus the Sage (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994), 41.25Ibid, 51.26 Michael V. Fox, ‘Ideas of Wisdom in Proverbs 1-9’ Journal of Biblical Literature Vol. 116, No. 4 (Winter,1997) 619.27 Stephen C. Barton, Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1999), 24.
7teachers down the centuries28. Personifying wisdom then enables that character to‘morph’ from one ‘voice’ to another, so we find Wisdom sounding variously like aprophet, an attractive wife, and a goddess, with the authority of each of those figures. Asa prophet character Wisdom shouts aggressively29 in the marketplace:‘How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?How long will scoffers delight in their scoffingand fools hate knowledge?’ (Pr 1:22)Certainly not ‘ladylike’ behaviour! As Moore writes:‘she is indignant and judgemental, pouring out on her audience language whichseems much more at home in the thundering day-of-Yahweh prophecies than therelatively placid world of the scribes.’Woman Wisdom is contrasted with Woman Folly and sexual imagery is used to drawthe reader’s (or listener’s) attention:‘Come, let us take our fill of love until morning;let us delight ourselves with love. (Pr 7:18)This is where the female personification is essential – how best can the sages makewisdom attractive to their young male charges?‘What better way to talk about security than comparing it to the arms of amother/good wife? What better way to illustrate passion than by stimulatingit?’3028There is perhaps even a version of it in the 1999 Wachowski film The Matrix – Neo is trained in aprogramme that contains the teaching aid of a woman in a red dress!29 Ellen F. Davis, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,2000), 34.30 Jane S. Webster, ‘Sophia: Engendering Wisdom in Proverbs, Ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon’Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 23 (1998) 79.
8So by making Wisdom an attractive woman, one with whom one could be secure andraise a family:‘The scenario has erotic and linguistic aspects; that is, hearers are invited into along-term relationship with wisdom and warned against entering into arelationship with the other woman; they are to discern the real meaning of thewomans words.’31It is notable that at the beginning of Proverbs the early courting period is hinted at, butby the end of the book of Proverbs we have an image of a wonderful wife – the ‘prize’,perhaps, for those who follow Wisdom. Clifford writes of Proverbs 31:‘The most likely interpretation of the poem…is as an illustration of what happensto the man who marries Woman Wisdom.’32Wisdom can also, even, speak in the voice of a goddess:‘Wisdom Woman towers like a “goddess” over her “devotees”.’33In chapter 8 we have an astonishing account of how wisdom was there at creation. Thisis the chapter over which much has been written. I have already referred to theconnections with the goddesses of the Near East that have been seen here. In thischapter Wisdom is elevated from the homestead and the bustling marketplace to thesilence before creation began – further heightening her authority. This is the climax ofWisdom’s discourse and connects the teaching of the sages with YHWH himself. Manyhave read Proverbs 8 and concluded that it represents a ‘hypostasis’ of Wisdom to thelevel of God himself. The text, itself, however, does not allow us to go this far:‘The Lord created me at the beginning’ (Pr 8:22)31 Richard J. Clifford, The Wisdom Literature (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998), 63.32Ibid, 67.33Michael S. Moore, ‘”Wise Women” or Wisdom Woman? A Biblical Study of Women’s Roles’ RestorationQuarterly 35/3 (1993), 157.
9Something created by God surely cannot be God.Witherington believes thatpersonification rather than hypostatisation is a more accurate description of what ishappening here:‘It appears that personification best describes the Woman Wisdom material inProverbs, Job and Sirach, though in the Wisdom of Solomon the author may haveprogressed to the stage of the hypostasization of Wisdom.’34The point is, that without the use of the personification of wisdom, none of these threevoices of prophet, good woman and goddess could be heard.Personified, Wisdom can also move from the home to the marketplace – her voice canbe heard beyond the classroom as well:‘Not confined within the cloistered walls of hearth and home, wisdoms rhetoricwafts through the streets and central locales of public intercourse (1:20-21). She,unlike the father, is in a position to rebuke directly the scoffers who provoke onlyviolence for quick gain.’35Although the primary audience is the young men in school – by chapter 8 everybody’sinterest is captured:Wisdom extends in part the voice of the parent outside of the cloistered walls ofhearth and home and becomes the voice of the larger community that legitimatesall those who exercise authority, be they king or parent.’36The sages, in choosing to personify wisdom as a woman, then, have a superblyadaptable didactic tool through which to entice, admonish, inspire and stimulate theirreaders.34Ben Witherington III, Jesus the Sage (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994), 38.35 William P. Brown, Character in Crisis (Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans Publishing, 1996), 32.36Ibid, 40.
10Many of the characteristics of Wisdom could have been personified as male (eg.prophet, king, warrior) so why is the female form chosen? It should not be ignored thatthe category of ‘woman’ represents the ‘other’ to these male sages. Wisdom is alsopersonified as a woman, therefore, because ‘woman’ is something strange, unattainableand unfathomable:‘in other words, wisdom is something outside and distinct from the self’37This happens a lot in Ancient Greek literature where women are presented as ‘other’and either made terrifying (in the case of Euripides’ Bacchae) or hilarious (in the case ofAristophanes’ Lysistrata). Putting women in the position of men creates a spectacle forthe ancient readers – how funny, that a woman should be a political leader (cf.Lysistrata), or how intriguing that a woman might have military qualities:‘She girds herself with strength,and makes her arms strong.’ (Pr 31:17)The ‘shock’ factor is perhaps lost on the modern reader but it was quite deliberate onthe part of those biblical writers. Wisdom personified as a Woman representssomething to the male reader of the difficulty of obtaining wisdom, its ‘otherness’.Theological contextTurning from the historical and literary context I will now look at some of thetheological issues raised by the female personification of wisdom. I have already hintedat the discussion about chapter 8 of Proverbs and whether this represents ahypostatisation of Wisdom. This chapter certainly is the most unusual part of Proverbs’personification of wisdom and does raise some questions that are not completelyanswered by reference to the personification of wisdom as a didactic tool. Proverbschapter 8 says something to us about God and about woman. Having referred to the37 Jane S. Webster, ‘Sophia: Engendering Wisdom in Proverbs, Ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon’Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 23 (1998) 79.
11androcentric nature of the literature, it is intriguing to read the text as a woman in the21st century. Where the original male reader might have been enticed by the embrace ofthe ‘good wife’ Wisdom; the area of fascination for me is the creation account in chapter8. Silvia Schroder suggests:‘this personification seeks to connect God and woman; its purpose is to connectthe human, concrete, this-worldly with the divine, universal, and other-worldly,to connect YHWH with the street, the house, love, the Wisdom tradition, and thelife of Israelite women, so that the activities of the wise woman becometransparent, even transcendent toward YHWH, and YHWH can be experienced inthe image of "Lady" Wisdom.’38I can agree with the raising up of the human level to the divine level but I suspect thatthe original writers were not deliberately trying to elevate the status of women and‘wise women’ in general. It might do that for the modern reader but I do not think theoriginal writers had that in mind. Having said this, it does seem that Sophia is a kind of‘agent’ of God (if not equal with God):‘Sophia stands as an intermediary between God and humanity.’39This picture gets further developed in Ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon which buildon the picture of Sophia in Proverbs. In Proverbs Woman Wisdom invites us into God’spresence at the very creation of the world and uses wonderfully playful imagery:‘With wisdoms creation, God establishes a community of discourse. Whenwisdom proclaims, "I was beside God like a little child," the community, likewisdom, becomes initiated into the grand and joyous ways of God that began increation...wisdom is the community, created to behold and follow the ways ofGod.4038 Silvia Schroder, Wisdom has built her house (Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2000), 27.39 Jane S. Webster, ‘Sophia: Engendering Wisdom in Proverbs, Ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon’Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 23 (1998) 78.40 William P. Brown, Character in Crisis (Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans Publishing, 1996), 39.
12Hearing this, we are the child, called to play alongside YHWH as he engages with hiscreation – this is true wisdom. Again, we see the significance of wisdom’spersonification:‘What the father can only claim secondhand, wisdom can attest directly inrevelatory fashion, since she serves as the pedagogical link between God andhumans.41The connection with YHWH in chapter 8 is crucial to the efficacy of this personification:‘the reason she is to be trusted by her hearers is her relationship with Yahweh. Infact, the relationship she wishes with her discipleship is modeled on herrelationship with Yahweh.’42The personification of Wisdom turns a virtue into something relational:then I was beside him, like a little child;and I was daily his delight (Pr 8:3043This moves the idea of learning wisdom away from mere rote learning to encompass thewhole of one’s life as a relationship does. This then becomes not only a relationship withWisdom that affects all of life but also a relationship with YHWH. Being invited to playas a child at the feet of YHWH is a powerful image – as shocking as was Jesus’ addressingof YHWH as Abba in the New Testament. As Davis writes:‘the poet-sages use language that impresses itself vividly on the imagination inorder to say that our search for wisdom moves us into relationship - delighted,even playful relationship - with our Creator.4441Ibid, 40.42 Richard J. Clifford, The Wisdom Literature (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998), 61.43 This is an alternative translation to ‘master worker’ provided in the NRSV footnote. See also William P.Brown, Character in Crisis (Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans Publishing, 1996), 38f.44 Ellen F. Davis, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,2000), 67.
13No surprise, then, perhaps that the literature develops this concept (in Ben Sira and theWisdom of Solomon) and then we get ideas of Sophia Jesus, the Logos, in John’s gospel45,links with the doctrine of the Trinity and today a great movement of feminists whoembrace this feminine idea of God46. It is striking that the greatest church in earlyChristianity was named the Hagia Sophia47 – the concept of Divine Wisdom remains animportant symbol of Christian truth and beauty in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. Thepersonification of Wisdom as female has had lasting power for generations since it wasfirst conceived by those early Hebrew sages.ConclusionI have explored and described the personification of Wisdom as a woman in Proverbsby looking at the historical context in which it was likely written, the use of thepersonification as a literary tool and then finally looked at some of its theologicalconsequences. What I have shown is that the historical context had a great bearing onthe choice to personify wisdom as female – the biblical writers drew on the culturearound them, perhaps from ideas of goddesses associated with wisdom such as Ma’atfrom Egypt but also from the real life hustle and bustle of life in Persian-periodPalestine. The post-exilic setting had heightened the importance of women and a stablehome and this contributed to the setting used within Proverbs for the instruction. Theliterary context shed light on the use of female personification as a very effectivepedagogical tool – especially for its young male audience. Finally, the theologicalinsights provided by the personification of wisdom highlighted the possibility ofcommunion with God – surely the aim of all spiritual seeking and perhaps the aim of thebook of Proverbs as a whole:45 John Meyendorff, ‘Wisdom-Sophia: Contrasting Approaches to a Complex Theme’ Dumbarton OaksPapers 41 (1987) 392.46 See Ninna E. Beckman, ‘Sophia: Symbol of Christian and Feminist Wisdom?’ Feminist Theology 6 (1997)32-54.47 John Meyendorff, ‘Wisdom-Sophia: Contrasting Approaches to a Complex Theme’ Dumbarton OaksPapers 41 (1987) 391.
14‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge’ (Pr 1:7)‘a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.’ (Pr 31:30)
15BibliographyBible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.Barton, S. C. (ed.) Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1999)Beckman, N.E. ‘Sophia: Symbol of Christian and Feminist Wisdom?’ Feminist Theology 6(1997) 32-54.Brown, W. P. Character in Crisis (Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans Publishing, 1996)Clements, R.E. Wisdom in Theology (Carlisle: The Paternoster Press, 1992)Clifford, R. J. The Wisdom Literature (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998)Collins, J.T. ‘Wisdom Reconsidered, in Light of the Scrolls’ Dead Sea DiscoveriesVol 4, No.3 (Nov 1997) 265-281.Crenshaw, J. L. (ed.) Studies in Ancient Israelite Wisdom (New York: Ktav PublishingHouse, 1976)Crenshaw, J. L., Old Testament Wisdom: an introduction (Louisville: Westminster JohnKnox Press, 2010)Davis, E. F. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs (Louisville: Westminster JohnKnox Press, 2000)Fox, M.V. ‘Ideas of Wisdom in Proverbs 1-9’ Journal of Biblical Literature Vol. 116, No. 4(Winter, 1997) 613-633.Meyendorff, J. ‘Wisdom-Sophia: Contrasting Approaches to a Complex Theme’Dumbarton Oaks Papers 41 (1987) 391-401.
16Moore, M.S. ‘”Wise Women” or Wisdom Woman? A Biblical Study of Women’s Roles’Restoration Quarterly 35/3 (1993), 147-158.Morgan, D. F. Wisdom in the Old Testament traditions (Oxford: Basil Blackwell Publisher,1981)Murphy, R.E., ‘Can the Book of Proverbs Be a Player in “Biblical Theology”?’ BiblicalTheology Bulletin: A Journal of Bible and Theology 31 (2001) 4-9.Perry, T. A. Gods Twilight Zone (Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 2008)Roy Yoder, C. ‘The Woman of Substance: A Socioeconomic reading of Proverbs 31:10-31’, JBL 122/3 (2003), 427-47.Sandelin, K.G.Wisdom as nourisher (Abo Akademi, 1986)Schroder, S.Wisdom has built her house (Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2000)Shupak, N. ‘Female Imagery in Proverbs 1-9 in the Light of Egyptian Sources’VetusTestamentum 61 (2011) 310-323.Webster, J.S. ‘Sophia: Engendering Wisdom in Proverbs, Ben Sira and the Wisdom ofSolomon’ Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 23 (1998) 63-79.Weeks, S.Early Israelite Wisdom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994)Witherington, B. Jesus the Sage (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994)