RE: Wisdom of Solomon and Hebrews

From: A. Brent Hudson (
Date: Fri Feb 09 1996 - 01:11:55 EST

It may have been Nygren, but I'm not sure of that. If that can be argued plausibly for
Paul, then I would think the author of Hebrews might also have known the
work as well. Does this link between WS and Rom 2 ring a bell with anyone?

Nygren does use WS regarding Romans 2 (pp. 114ff.). More recently, Fitzmyer has taken a more cautious approach. He says that Paul "may be alluding to Wisdom 15:1-3" in Rom 2.4, but this is as definite as he gets on it. Elsewhere, Fitzmyer, states that Paul's argument was part of the larger "current Jewish conviction" (p. 281). Likewise, Paul's ideas are said to be "borrowed from the Hellenistic Jewish Wisdom tradition" (p.280).

Fitzmyer's more cautious path may, in the end, be more prudent. It is easy to fall prey to what Samuel Sandmel has called "parallelitus." Perhaps, we need to take a step back and compare WS with other Jewish texts of roughly the same period. Until we can show parallels that do not occur elsewhere in the literature, we can only say with Fitzmyer that these writers "echoed" the current Hellenistic Jewish Wisdom tradition.

Of course, there is more evidence for Hebrews using WS than for Priscilla being its author!! (although in a scholarly forum, there is bound to be at least one who will oppose even this).

Brent Hudson
Religious Studies, McMaster University OR

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