Emil Schürer.

A history of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus Christ .. (Volume 2 pt.3) online

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shown (chaps, i.-v.) that the wicked and ungodly, although
for a period apparently prosperous, will not escape the judg-
ments of God, but that the pious and just, after having been
for a time tried by sufferings, attain to true happiness and
immortality. In a second section (chaps, vi.-ix.) Solomon
directs his royal colleagues to his own example. It is just
because he has loved high and divine wisdom, and has united
himself to her as his bride, that he has attained to glory and
honour. Hence he still prays for such wisdom. The third
section (chaps, x.— xix.) points out, by referring to the history
of Israel, and especially to the different lots of the Israelites
and the Egyptians, the blessing of godliness and the curse
of ungodliness. A very long tirade on the folly of idolatry
(chaps, xiii.-xv.) is here inserted.

The w^ork being in its chief contents a warning against the
folly of ungodliness, it can only be so far intended for Jewish
readers, as ungodliness was to be found among them also.
But we should be hardly mistaken, if we were to suppose,
that the author had heathen readers, at least as much in view.
The numerous allusions to Scripture history seem indeed to
presuppose Jewish readers (so e.g. Grimm, Exeget. Handh.
p. 27). But then what is the purpose of the garment chosen,
according to which the kings and potentates of the earth are
addressed ? Why the long-winded discourse on the folly of
idolatry, for which there was no occasion with Jewish readers,
who still deserved the name ? The contents recall in many
respects the Sibylline oracles, which, going forth under a
heathen authority, were certainly intended for heathen readers.
As in these so in the book in question the folly of an
ungodly life is set before its readers. At all events its
warning and instruction are addressed to heathen-minded
readers, whether these are by birth Jews or heathen, and
chiefly indeed to the great and mighty of this world.

The special theological standpoint of the author agrees with



232 § 33. THE GRAECO-JEWISII LITERATUUK

that of Palestinian proverbial wisdom, as we find it in the
Proverbs of Solomon and in Jesus the son of Sirach. Divine
Wisdom is the supreme good, the source of all truth, virtue and
happiness with our author also. But while, like the author of
the Book of Proverbs and Jesus Sirach, he starts from the
assertion, that this Wisdom is first of all present with God,
it becomes in his conception almost an independent person
beside God. His utterances indeed do not seem to really
exceed what we already read in Prov. viii.— ix. But what
is there more a poetic personification becomes with him a
philosophic theory. Wisdom is according to him a breath
(arfiLs:) of God's power, a pure effluence {airoppLo) from the glory
of the Almighty, the brightness {a'rravyaaixa) of the everlasting
light (vii. 25, 2G). It is most intrinsically united with God
(av/ii^icoa-tv Oeov e^ovcra), is initiated into the knowledge of
God (fMvaTL



Online LibraryEmil SchürerA history of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus Christ .. (Volume 2 pt.3) → online text (page 24 of 51)