Dr. Whybray describes the ancient Near-Eastern tradition of producing collections of wisdom: instructions in the form of aphorisms and proverbs for educating the young on how to have a happy and successful life. Although Proverbs depends on the tradition of wisdom literature, according to Whybray, the book of Ecclesiastes modifies this tradition. The book contains three very different types of material: sections whose form and character are hardly distinguishable from the instructions of Egypt and Mesopotamia; others where the aim remains the achievement of the successful life; and finally, passages in which the main purpose has now become the pursuit of a wisdom which is in entire conformation with the “fear of the Lord.”
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- Title: Sheffield Old Testament Guides: Ecclesiastes
- Author: R. Norman Whybray
- Publisher: Sheffield Academic Press
- Publication Date: 1997
- Pages: 85
About R. Norman Whybray
R. Norman Whybray was Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Studies at the University of Hull. His other publications include The Second Isaiah, The Good Life in the Old Testament, and The Making of the Pentateuch: A Methodological Study, available in the Pentateuch History and Origins Collection (10 Vols.).