Thursday, February 23, 2006
A man of wisdom
Found this among my Old Testament theology reading:

He who devotes himself to studying the law of the Most High interprets the wisdom of the ancients and studies prophecies. He observes the words of men of renown, and penetrates the depths of proverbs. He interprets hidden meanings, and is familiar with parables. He serves among princes, and appears before the mighty. He travels to foreign nations, weighing good and evil among men. He rises early to worship his Maker, and pray to the Most High, opening his mouth in prayer and making supplication for his sins. If the Most High God so will, he will be filled with the spirit of understanding: he will utter words of wisdom, and give thanks to the Lord in prayer (Ecclus. 39:1-6).

This is the famous description of the sage by Ben Sira in the early second century BCE found in the deuterocanonical writing Ecclesiasticus.

It's important to remember that Jesus of Nazareth did not simply fall out of the sky. When he intersects human history he enters a specific cultural milieu. When Jesus comes on the scene, it would be to this specific tradition of wisdom teachers that he would have been associated. These were the standards for rabbis and teachers.

Now if only contemporary ministerial standards were so sapientially themed.

posted by Peter at 12:00 AM
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