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SBL Teacher Newsletter

February 2010
Welcome to the monthly electronic publication, Teaching the BibleTB for short. Designed to support teachers of high school Bible electives, it features easy to read and reliable resources that you can use in your classroom. Send your comments to: Moira Bucciarelli.

wisdom, a term used in the Bible for many things, ranging from the technical skill of the artisan (Exod. 36:8) to the art of government (1 Kings 3:12, 28). It also designates simple cleverness (2 Sam. 14:2), especially the practical skill of coping with life (Prov. 1; 5; 11; 14) and the pursuit of a lifestyle of proper ethical conduct (Prov. 2:9–11 and throughout). Wisdom is also seen as belonging properly to God (Job 28), associated with creation (Prov. 8:22– 31), and even identified with the Torah, or law (Sir. 24:23). In the NT, wisdom is a prominent concern in Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:17–25; 2:6–16) and in the Letter of James (1:5; 3:13–18).

What is Wisdom?
By Carol A. Newsom
These brief audio clips are from an interview with Professor Carol A. Newsom, who is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament at Emory University. She is author of The Book of Job: a Contest of Moral Imaginations (Oxford University Press, 2003). Professor Newsom offers some fascinating background on Wisdom Literature.

What was Wisdom, to the ancient Israelites? (1:00)
Did neighboring cultures also have Wisdom Literature? (:39)
Who wrote Wisdom Literature? (:42)
Why is Wisdom a woman? (2:06)
Why is Wisdom a woman? (:51)
How does Wisdom Literature address good and evil in the world? (4:12)

To hear more interview clips with Professor Newsom on the topic, follow this link to the SBL Interviews home page.

About the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)
The SBL was founded in 1880 and is an international academic membership organization for people who teach, study, or are interested in academic study of the Bible and its related contexts and literatures. The Society’s mission is to foster biblical scholarship and does not hold any denominational or confessional stance, though many of our members are religious leaders.

Feature Essays

The Interpretation of Wisdom Literature of the Bible, Part I
By David Penchansky

David Penchansky is a leading scholar in the field of Wisdom Literature—which includes Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Ben Sira (or Ecclesiasticus) and the Wisdom of Solomon. Here he introduces readers to the types of issues that the biblical writers were grappling with, and helps you identify the types of knowledge that came to be known as the “wisdom tradition.”

Lament in the Bible and in Music and Poetry across Cultures Today
by Nancy C. Lee

Nancy Lee brings us an essay that couldn’t be more relevant, in light of recent disasters we have witnessed and experienced. She teaches readers how to identify the main types of lament in biblical literature, and to recognize their central characteristics. To learn more about lament...

Active Learning

Biblical & Contemporary Lament: Examples and Resources
by Nancy C. Lee

Here, Prof. Lee offers a wealth of contemporary and cross-cultural examples of lament in song and poetry. Copious links to sources, as well as a classroom activity are all ready for your adaptation and use in your classroom!

Reading Glasses
Feminist Criticism
By Susan Brayford

This month we learn about feminist criticism. Susan Brayford clearly shows that there is not simply one “feminist” way of reading the Bible, but several.

Book Review
Professor Adam Porter reviews (and recommends) a recent introductory-level book from the Jewish Publication Society, The Jewish Bible: A JPS Guide.

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