The Wisdom of the Scribe: A Socio-Rhetorical and Theological Interpretation of Sirach 38:24–39:11

Title: The Wisdom of the Scribe: A Socio-Rhetorical and Theological Interpretation of Sirach 38:24–39:11
Authors: Finbow, Douglas
Date: 2017-05-16
Embargo: 2022-05-15
Abstract: This thesis contends that the Greek text of Sirach 38:24–39:11 is a rhetorical elaboration of σοφι'α γραμματε'ως as a divinely inspired wisdom uttered by a learned scholar who embodies a dynamic correlation of the universal wisdom “poured out” at creation with the particular wisdom revealed to Israel in its covenantal history. Specifically, the thesis contends that Sirach uses the Hellenistic social concept σχολη' to argue that freedom from manual labour, engagement in ε λευθε' ριος παιδει'α and an appropriate piety before the creator, disposes the scribe to being filled with “the spirit of understanding” and to uttering a new, superior wisdom which will be manifest in a continued, but divinely informed, correlation of παιδει'α with “glory (καυχα' ομαι) in the law of the Lord’s covenant.” Beginning with a review of the complex textual and interpretive history of Sirach 38:24-39:11, the dissertation proposes a socio-rhetorical interpretive analytics as an innovative and productive approach to the Greek text of the discourse. After considering innertexture, intertexture, socio-cultural texture and ideological texture, the research argues that this passage is a discrete and coherent rhetorical unit intended to elaborate σοφι'α γραμματε'ως as a divine gift of understanding bestowed on a learned scholar who embodies the discipline of παιδει'α, theachievement of personal excellence (α ρετη') and a faithful piety before the God of creation, election and covenant with Israel. The result is that Jewish intellectual and wisdom traditions are presented in a register equal with and superior to the highest levels of Hellenistic wisdom. Faithful scribes of the Jewish Egyptian Diaspora community may now live and practice their vocation within the social expectations of Hellenistic scribal culture and at the same time remain deeply faithful to their traditional identity rooted in election and covenant.
CollectionThèses Saint-Paul // Saint Paul Theses