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Jesus the Sage: The Pilgrimage of Wisdom
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Jesus the Sage: The Pilgrimage of Wisdom


Fortress Press 1994

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


In the early Jesus movement, wisdom in the person of Jesus was believed to have returned to heaven, exalted to the right hand of God, and to reign from there. But Jesus as wisdom had left both his legacy and his influence behind. The sayings of Jesus recorded in the Gospels reflect not only the influence of the Israelite wisdom traditions, but also the tradition of the personification of wisdom.

In this provocative volume, Ben Witherington provides both an introduction to Israel’s wisdom traditions and insight into how Jesus and his sayings fit in that tradition. Beyond this, he demonstrates the ongoing significance and influence of these traditions on other New Testament writings. He concludes that Jesus may be viewed primarily as a prophetic sage emphasizing instruction, insight, and humor in a vein counter to the dominant culture.

In the Logos edition, this valuable volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Argues that Jesus would have been seen as a prophetic sage during the time of his ministry
  • Examines how the style in which Jesus taught reflected that of Ben Sira’s or Pseudo-Solomon’s
  • Explores how biblical wisdom developed and changed chronologically culminating in the ministry of Christ


  • Part One: From Solomon to Jesus
    • Beginning the Journey: Drinking from the Fount
    • Wisdom at a Turning Point: From Ben Sira to the Wisdom of Solomon
    • Hokmah Meets Sophia: Jesus the Cynic?
    • Wisdom in Person: Jesus the Sage
  • Part Two: From Jesus to the Church
    • Wisdom’s Legacy: From Q to James
    • Singing Wisdom’s Praise
    • Paul the Apostle: Sage or Sophist?
    • The Gospels of Wisdom: Matthew and John
    • Final Reflections on Wisdom’s Journey

Praise for the Print Edition

Ben Witherington has written what is not only an extremely learned and fundamental book but one that is of theological importance as well. He offers much essential information on the sapiential background of ancient Jewish wisdom and the Jesus tradition that was influential in the shaping of earliest Christology. He corrects misguided opinions and leads us into the heart of the teachings of Jesus. He thereby contributes to our knowledge of earliest Christian thought, its Jewish background as well as its creative and innovative identity.

Martin Hengel, emeritus professor of New Testament and early Judaism, University of Tübingen

Product Details

  • Title: Jesus the Sage: The Pilgrimage of Wisdom
  • Author: Ben Witherington III
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: 448

About Ben Witherington III

Ben Witherington III is professor of New Testament interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. He is the author of numerous works, including The Jesus Quest and New Testament History: A Narrative Account.

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