People often assume—wrongly—that the Bible presents a single view of God and the world. In Understanding Wisdom Literature, David Penchansky shows how the Hebrew Bible’s wisdom books, Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes, speak differently from covenant-centered writings such as Genesis, Deuteronomy and Isaiah. Two additional wisdom books, Ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon (found in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox canons), have connections to both the older wisdom books and the Jewish covenant traditions.
Penchansky, a Hebrew Bible scholar who teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, has focused throughout his career on neglected aspects of biblical theology. He celebrates the diversity and unconventionality of the Hebrew Bible’s wisdom books while taking a dimmer view of apocryphal wisdom’s rapprochement with traditional belief systems.