Where Can Wisdom Be Found? Old Testament Wisdom Literature and Job


Fall 2018
Tues 9:00 AM-10:50 AM

This course is a study of the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament with a special focus on the book of Job as inner biblical wisdom dialogue. We will survey the wisdom books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, taking into account the milieu of ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature. Particular attention will be given to the various genres included within the wisdom books, and the way in which they have been and should be interpreted and applied for the church and society today. The course will also undertake a thorough study of the book of Job taking into account critical matters & methodologies, ancient Near Eastern parallels, and the canonical context of the book. The course focuses on several questions related to the interpretation of Job such as: What is the appropriate way to talk about God while suffering? What is the role of Satan in human suffering? What answers to the problem of suffering does the book of Job give? How is the theology of Job’s friends still prevalent in Christian circles today? We will examine the literary structure, authorial purpose(s), and interpretation of the book of Job in its historical context, with an effort to discover the continuing relevance of the book of Job for the Church and society today.


  • To know the place of wisdom in OT theology.
  • To know the content, historical contexts, and theological message of the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
  • To gain an introductory knowledge of relevant Ancient Near Eastern Literature: One will read an English translation of the most important extra-biblical documents for a proper understanding of wisdom within its ancient Near Eastern context.
  • To have a thorough knowledge of the contents and message of the book of Job and its role in inner biblical wisdom dialogue.


  • To embrace the contemporary relevance of Old Testament Wisdom Literature for the Church today.
  • To grow closer to God through study of the wisdom literature.


  • To be able to discuss the relation of the book of Job to discussions of theodicy and modern liberation theologies.
  • To be able to interpret Wisdom literature in its original contexts.
  • To be able to apply Wisdom literature to contemporary audiences.
  • To be able to apply Wisdom literature to our own lives.