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Wisdom Literature Immerse Seminar

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Wisdom LiteratureImmerse Seminar
September 2017Larry Perkins, Ph.D.Professor Emeritus, Biblical Studies
Session Three -- Job
Introduction – Job’s reputationEzekiel 14:14,20.James 5:11Possible Edomite connection“The Land ofUz” – Jeremiah 25:20; Lamentations 4:21Addition to Greek translation at the end – identifies Job as “Jobab, King of Edom” (cf. Gen. 36:33), grandson of Esau.
Session Three -- Job
The Hebrew text.Greek version is 1/7thshorter than the Hebrew Masoretic TextHas the text suffered some dislocations?Relationship between the prose prologue and epilogue and the poetic contents in between.
Session Three -- Job
The Context of the StoryBabylonian parallels – “theodicy”Structure of contentsPrologue 1-2Job’s lament 3Three cycles of three speeches, interspersed with three responses from Job 4 - 27Hymn to Wisdom 28Job’s avowal of innocence 29-31One cycle of fourElihuspeeches 32-37Two cycles of speech by Yahweh followed by response from Job 38 – 42:6Epilogue 42:7-17Why does the writer use ‘speeches’ as the primary genre for telling the story? (Consider speeches in Acts)
Session Three -- Job
Laments or Lawsuit?The prologue and epilogue frame our understanding.1:1-5 – general introduction1:6-12 – heavenly scene # 1- relationship between God and “the Satan”1:13-20 – Job’s initial misfortune- theology of possessions2:1-6 - heavenly scene # 22:7-10 – Job’s second misfortune2:11-13 – Job’s three friends
Session Three -- Job
The Epilogue42:7-9 Condemnation and restoration of Job’s friendsWhy does Yahweh condemn these friends?42:10-17 Restoration of JobWhat does Job’s restoration mean theologically?Does this justify a “health and wealth” Gospel?
Session Three -- Job
Speeches of Job’s friends – theological treatises cast in poetic form.Eliphaz’sspeech (Job 4-5)word of consolation 4:2-6wisdom instruction 4:7-11vision report 4:12-21fate of the wicked 5:1-7exhortation to seek God 5:8, 27praise of God 5:9-16fate of the upright 5:17-28How do we evaluate the theology ofEliphaz?
Session Three -- Job
The Laments of Job –Job 6 – to his friendsjustification – 6:5-7complaint against his friends 6:14-27Job 7 – to Godcomplaint against God 7:7-10, 11-21What is the place of lament within a Christian’s experience?
Session Three -- Job
Hymn to Wisdom – Job28 (Compare Proverbs 8)Note the conclusion – “the fear of the Lord – that is wisdom and to shun evil is understanding”It picks up Yahweh’s description of Job – 1:8.What is the source of wisdom? (28:23, 27-28)
Session Three -- Job
Yahweh’s speeches38:1 – 40:240:6-41:34Yahweh integrates his power with his wisdom, both of which when integrated enable him to define and exact justice.God responds in a theophany.Job’s responses – 40:3; 42:1-6First there is silenceThen there is repentance and submission.
Session Three -- Job
Interpretation Issues:1. The characterization of Yahweh and his sovereign mission2. The characterization of the Satan3. The operation of evil in the world4. The interaction between the heavenly and earthly domains5. The nature of faith in the face of suffering6. The role of lament in the life of a believer7. The theology of blessing8. The theology of retribution9. God’s relationship to his creation.10. The source, nature and value of true wisdom.
Session Three -- Job
In Class Assignment:Working in groups of 3 prepare for a 20 year old Christian a brief explanation for the way Yahweh relates to the person of Job in this composition.How does this help humans understand their place in this world and how life operates?Consider the “conversations” between Yahweh and the Satan.Consider God’s special revelation of himself to Job in chapters 38-41.
Session Four: Ecclesiastes
General IntroductionThe titleThe initial verse – 1:1 – its possible meaningsInferences from the contents re the person offering these reflections – 1:12; 1:2-11; 3:1-5; 4:1-3Possible date
Session Four: Ecclesiastes
Structure:Various proposalsLoader’s analysis1:2 and 12:8 – the bookends1:3-11 – first poem – corresponds perhaps to the last poem in 12:1-71:12-2:26 – theking’s/teacher’sinvestigation3:1- 4:16 seven poems deal with time5:10 – 6:9 numerous poems focus on wealth and its worthlessness6:10- 8:1 concern human incompetence in terms of wisdom8:10 – 9:10 retribution and wisdom9:11 – 10:11 worthlessness of human wisdom10:12-20 two poems about speech and silence11: 1- 12:7 – vanity – joy; joy – vanity.
Session Four: Ecclesiastes
Structure:Wright’s analysis1:2-11 – poem on toil1:12 – 6:9 – “what is good for man to do?” (2:3-4)introductory statements of purpose (1:12-18)six expository sections (2:1 – 6:9) – all is vanity and a striving after wind”6:10 – 11:6 – “who knows what is good for man” and “who knows the future” (6:10-12)responses to first question – 7:1-8:17 – each ends with “not find out” with climax in 8:17responses to second question – 9:1 – 11:6 -- man’s inability to know the future – each section ends with “you do not know” –cf11: 5-6.11:7 – 12:8 – poem on youth and old age.Epilogue
Session Four: Ecclesiastes
Genre discussionWe have a collection of poems which display diverse genres.The writer in these poems searches for a response to the claim that “all is meaningless.” The limitation of human wisdom.Diverse genresthe true saying - 1:14comparative sayings – 4:9“as…so comparison – 11:5metaphors – 7:26parable – 4:13-16allegory – 12:3-4observations – “and I saw” – 4:4cry of woe as well as beatitude – 10:15b-17rhetorical questions – 8:4admonitions – commands that give adviceautobiographical stance – 1:2-11.
Session Four: Ecclesiastes
What is the message of Ecclesiastes as a part of the Canon?The perspective of a person who seeks to make sense of life apart from God/Yahweh, i.e. the secularist or the humanist. No matter where this person seeks an answer to the meaning of life, all that he discovers is futility and meaninglessness.Belief and confidence in God is the only solution, because only God has the wisdom to sort out the complexities of the universe – 5:2. God is Creator, Sovereign and Unsearchable Wisdom. Consider 11:5 or 7:29.What we experience in life are God’s appointments – 1:13-14. Sometimes God assists the righteous but tragedy can strike anyone – 6:1-6.
Session Four: Ecclesiastes
What is the message of Ecclesiastes as a part of the Canon?There is a hiddenness about God that we cannot ignore – 3:11. We grasp enough of a pattern to recognize God’s presence, but we cannot discern the entire pattern which defines the meaning of our lives – 7:14; 8:17. We live in the hand of God – but what kind of God?He takes us on an extended tour of the human experience.He acknowledges the persistent reality of evil (4:1ff; 7:20; 9:3). This is mixed in with the frustration of time, chance, change and mortality (9:12).He ends with good news – 12:14.
Session Four: Ecclesiastes
Preaching EcclesiastesThe writer deals with the horizontal plane of human existence (“things under the sun”) and the vertical plane (“the fear of the Lord”), seeking to show the relationship between them. He mentions God and what God provides 39x.The relationship between human existence and evil gets a lot of play, reminding us of the consequences of the fall in Genesis 3. When people abandon belief in God or thing they have more wisdom than God, they run up against the destructive results of human self-sufficiency – i.e. confidence in human wisdom, power, and wealth.
Session Four: Ecclesiastes
Preaching EcclesiastesIt exposes the deep and unanswerable flaws of secularism. There is no ultimate meaning to be found in hedonism, materialism, lust or fame. It unmasks the myth of human autonomy. What kind of leadership is required in such a world (cf. Deut. 17: 14-20; 1 Samuel 12:12-15, 20-25).One might select a text or select a theme as the basis for preaching.You might explore the failure of human wisdom in contrast to the value of God’s wisdom in the light of Paul’s expression of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 1 as “the wisdom of God.”One might use analogy – comparing the foolish trust in wealth that Eccl exposes with the parables of Jesus that discuss similar issues (Matthew 6:19; Luke 12:19-21).Consider the exploration of longitudinal themes – the fear of the Lord, the challenge of human mortality, the nature of sin, etc.What is the nature and value of human work?
Session Four: Ecclesiastes
In class assignment:Eccl. 3:9-14.Work in teams of two to discern the big idea you think this text is expressing.What question relevant to 21stCentury Canadians is this text addressing?Propose how this text might answer sucha question.

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Wisdom Literature Immerse Seminar