Wisdom of Solomon and Hebrews

From: kenneth@sybase.com
Date: Sun Feb 04 1996 - 22:10:36 EST

     Now that I have a moment to breathe, I want to respond to Edgar Krentz's
interesting post on the relation of WisSol to the opening of Hebrews.
Since I was just reviewing both of these last wekk, they are pretty fresh in
mind. I'm afraid I find the thesis that Wisdom of Solomon or similar
ideas is taken up in Heb 1:1-4 somewhat lacking in evidence. Let's
look at some of the differences (since Edgar Krentz has presented what he thinks
are the similarities), having just been exhorted by my doctoral advisor to
stop quoting the opinions of others and do the grunt work in the text myself.
     Wisdom of Solomon 7 (hereafter WS) describes Wisdom as giving the writer
insight into things visible and hidden and insight into the rules by which
the seasons change (in fact he uses at least three different phrases to describe
these changes -- must have been paid by the word). He is given insight into
the inner workings of all matter. He/she then describes wisdom in several,
very rare (naturally) adjectives: clear, distinct, fine, bright,
unharmed/unharming, and so forth. The author also values Wisdom above power and

    Hebrews, on the other hand, focuses on 1) God's visible acts in the past;
and 2) how the Son relfects God's nature. While wisdom shows the author of
WS 7 the inner workings of things, the author of Hebrews (Prisicilla, for the sake
of argument) argues that the Son demonstrates God's hupostasis. The Son relfects
the glory of God. Both do seem to have the idea of unchangeableness in them, but
WS 7 never seems to equate God with Wisdom, while Hebrews 1:1-4 does equate
the Son with God in many ways.

   Furthermore, as just hinted at, the vocabulary used in WS 7 and Hb 1:1-4
shares little in common explicitly. While the owrds might change, I would expect
the thoghts to be the same, if in fact one is borrowing from the other or
influenced by the same tradition. In fact, Wisdom,which uses words, could be
contrasted with the Son, who supersedes the acts and words of the propehets
in Heb 1:1-4.

    Finally, I think it is yet to be proven that Priscilla knew of WS. I could
fairly readily argue, I think, that the Jewish view of wisdom as somehow
personal, stems from Proverbs 8, and WS 7, is a low-calibre imitation of that.
I await respones.

Ken Litwak
Bezerkley, CA

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:37:37 EDT