Biblical Wisdom

The wisdom literature in the Bible - Job, Ecclesiastes and Proverbs - all make use of a standard literary form. This was used by ancient sages to store and pass down their wisdom. What James Kugel calls, "the one line poem" hides great wisdom in a deceptively simple format.

These discussions inspired by James Kugel's book, "The Great Poems of the Bible."

  • Encoding Biblical Wisdom

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    This introduction to the wisdom books of the Bible discusses how the wise preserved what they had learned so that it could be passed to future generations. We discuss what James Kugel calls, "the one line poem." This ubiquitous construct is deceptively simple but invites reflection and discussion to uncover all of its truth.
  • Wisdom About Wealth

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    Proverbs and Ecclesiastes both teach about wealth. At first glance, these teachings may seem contradictory, but upon reflection they are not.
  • Poetic Combinations

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    While the 'one line poem' can store wisdom in a very compact form, the Bible also uses them in combinations to make deeper points. Here we will explore some examples where these poems are arranged into chiasms or are grouped loosely by subject.