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Wisdom's Wonder
Character, Creation, and Crisis in the Bible's Wisdom Literature
PAPERBACK; Published: 3/11/2014
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6793-3
236 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9

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DESCRIPTION
Explores the biblical wisdom books anew through the interpretive lens of wonder

Wisdom's Wonder offers a fresh reading of the Hebrew Bible's wisdom literature with a unique emphasis on "wonder" as the framework for understanding biblical wisdom. William Brown argues that wonder effectively integrates biblical wisdom's emphasis on character formation and its outlook on creation, breaking an impasse that has plagued recent wisdom studies.

Drawing on various disciplines, from philosophy to neuroscience, Brown discovers new distinctions and connections in Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. Each book is studied in terms of its view of moral character and creation, as well as in terms of the social or intellectual crisis each book identifies. Most general treatments of the wisdom literature spend too much time on issues of genre, poetry, and social context at the neglect of discussing the intellectual and emotional power of the wisdom corpus. Brown argues that the real power of the wisdom corpus lies in its capacity to evoke the reader's sense of wonder.

An extensive revision and expansion of Brown's Character in Crisis (Eerdmans, 1996), this book demonstrates that the wisdom books are much more than simply advice literature: with wonder as the foundation for understanding, Brown maintains that wisdom is a process with transformation of the self as the goal.
REVIEWS
James L. Crenshaw
-- Duke University
"Using wonder as the interpretive clue, Bill Brown deftly juxtaposes the formation of character by Israel's sages with the awe-inspiring universe in which that frequently disorienting process of education took place. In this way, he explores in amazing detail the richness and diversity of Proverbs, the book of Job, and Ecclesiastes."
Brent A. Strawn
-- Emory University
"This book is no mere `second edition' of William Brown's earlier Character in Crisis. While bits and pieces of that book remain, the whole has been completely reenvisioned: character is here combined with creation under the rubric of wonder. In the process, Brown has reconceived the very nature of wisdom itself as 'fear seeking understanding.' In bravely rethinking both his own project and wisdom more broadly, Brown not only discusses the sages but proves that he himself is one."
Journal of Hebrew Scriptures
"In Brown's hands, wonder proves a compelling lens for reading biblical wisdom. After reading his essays it will be difficult to view the wisdom books as hodge-podge collections or even simply as `advice literature.' . . . Wisdom's Wonder is artfully written and should serve as a model example of how canonical readings of wisdom literature that are attentive to the pedagogy, emotions, and dynamics of these books can open them up for contemporary readers."
Theological Book Review
"A well-written and engaging book which will be of interest to all those readers of the English editions of the Old Testament who want to deepen their understanding of the message of wisdom texts."
Review of Biblical Literature
"If I may permit myself a pun on the title, this is a wonderful book. . . . The author's central concept, `wonder' . . . has been applied to wisdom literature by others. But as far as I can see this has never been done as systematically and thoroughly as in Brown's latest contribution. . . . Wisdom's Wonder is not only a very important contribution to the study of wisdom literature but also has even further-reaching implications for Old Testament scholarship and biblical studies generally."
Choice
"A valuable book for all readership levels, this is a crucial acquisition for seminary libraries. Highly recommended."
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
"William Brown has presented us with a well-thought-out hermeneutical approach that allows his readers to engage the message and method of biblical wisdom."
Spirit & Life
"Wisdom's Wonder is an excellent treatment of the wisdom literature of the Bible. . . . It is well worth the effort for those who would like to explore topics such as virtue, integrity, desire, and fear in biblical literature."
Interpretation
"A compelling reappraisal of the Wisdom literature that views wonder as the beginning of wisdom. . . . This book offers an insightful and eminently readable interpretation of each of the Wisdom books, as well as the corpus as a whole. With his characteristic erudition and literary wit, Brown guides the reader through each book, drawing out major themes and focusing on key passages that not only support his overall argument but also help the reader understand the significance of each book as a whole. The volume could easily serve as the basis for an extended sermon series on the Wisdom literature or as the assigned text for adult education courses. Likewise, it could serve as a text for seminary or undergraduate courses on the Wisdom literature."
Mission Today
"This book opens for us a new window on the not-really-homogenous books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. Brown has done us a great service in pointing out their shared terminology and common focus. . . . Besides profiting from Brown's erudition, the reader will certainly relish his elegant prose. Throughout the book, the author proves himself well versed in the art of pleasant linguistic jugglery! I heartily recommend his book to students and scholars alike."

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