THE SURVIVAL OF MYTHOLOGY IN THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON by A.P. HAYMAN Universiry of Edinburgh In 1966 Alexander Di Lella wrote an article entitled "Conservative and Progressive Theology: Sirach and Wisdom."' His title neatly encapsu- lates the way in which these two late representatives of the wisdom tradition are usually viewed. Ben Sira seems to ignore the challenges of Job and Qohelet and reverts to the values of the Book of Proverbs.2 The author of the Wisdom of Solomon, by contrast, has apparently taken on board the challenge of Job and Qohelet and responded by drawing from his Greek cultural environment a new, dualistic view of human beings which allows him to blunt the acuteness of the problem of "the sufferings of the righteous" by asserting the immortality of the soul. There is a good deal of truth in this comparison and these asser- tions. Unfortunately, what gets obscured is the fact that in adopting a dualist solution Wisdom reaches back to a much older, both pre- and early Israelite, mythological view of God and the world, away from the much more monistic unitary view asserted by Ben Sira and C?ohelet. Who is conservative and who progressive may
Journal for the Study of Judaism – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1999
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