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Wisdom in Israel
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Wisdom in Israel


SCM Press 1972

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


In his last major work, Gerhard von Rad asserts that the Hebrew conception of wisdom involved an “encounter with the world as the creation of God.” Arguing that the wisdom teachers radically reinterpreted earlier creedal formulations, von Rad demonstrates that Hebrew wisdom was fundamentally different from both the teachings of the Pentateuch and the prophetic movement. Basing his study on a wide range of literary materials such as the books of Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, and the Wisdom of Ben Sirach, von Rad provides a foundational text for understanding the ancient Hebrews’ conception of wisdom.

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Get more classic studies on Israel’s wisdom tradition with the Classic Commentaries and Studies on Proverbs Upgrade

Key Features

  • Focuses on the combination of human experience and divine knowledge as the basis for wisdom
  • Argues that Israel’s wisdom authors departed drastically from the nation’s historians and prophets
  • Shows the influence of the wisdom tradition Israel’s culture and religion


  • Introduction
    • The Problem
    • Centres and Transmitters of the Didactic Tradition
    • The Forms in which Knowledge is Expressed
  • The Liberation of Reason and the Resultant Problems
    • Knowledge and the Fear of God
    • The Significance of Orders for Correct Social Behavior
    • Limits of Wisdom
  • Individual Subjects of Instruction
    • The Essentials for Coping with Reality
    • The Doctrine of the Proper Time
    • The Self-Revelation of Creation
    • The Polemic Against Idols
    • Wisdom and Cult
    • Trust and Attack
    • The Wisdom of Jesus Sirach
    • The Divine Determination of Times

Praise for the Print Edition

Highly recommended both to biblical and non-biblical scholars and students.

—R.E. Clements, The Expository Times

A must for every minister and man who feels himself caught in a secular and apparently materialistic society.

—G. Henton Davies, The Baptist Times

Product Details

About Gerhard von Rad

Gerhard von Rad (1901-1971) was a prominent German Old Testament scholar. In the years following the two World Wars, von Rad focused on Old Testament studies in response to anti-Semitic tendencies in German academia. He is noted for pioneering the tradition-historical method of biblical studies. He taught at the University of Jena, University of Gottingen, and Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg.

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