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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

The Wisdom of Solomon - Introduction

The author of Wisdom purports to be King Solomon ( 9.8 ), but this ascription was regarded as a literary fiction by both Origen (182–251 C.E.) and Jerome (about 340–420). Rather, the author was an Alexandrian Jew, well read in Jewish tradition and in Greek thought, who wrote in Greek. The author used the Septuagint translation of the Bible, completed in the second century B.C.E., but was unacquainted with the ideas of Philo (20 B.C.E.–40 C.E.), possibly indicating that the book was written in the first century B.C.E.

Biblical Wisdom literature is the source of many ideas in the book, and biblical poetry, with its parallel clauses, the model of its style (at least in the first sections). The review of Israel's history is embellished by expansions, many of which are found in late Jewish literature.

Under the impact of the cosmopolitan culture and a variety of philosophies and mystery religions of the Hellenistic world, the faith of many Jews was shaken. Moreover, as a result of persecution, the perennial problem of the wicked prospering and the good suffering rose to a crisis level.

The author, denouncing the Jewish skeptics of the day who have forsaken inherited beliefs and practices, seeks to safeguard the faith of the rest of the people. The author does so by proposing a religious philosophy of history (chs. 10–12; 16–19 ), by clearly affirming reward and punishment after death (chs. 1–5 ), and by identifying Wisdom with the traditional spirit of the Lord ( 1.4–7; 7.22–25 ). Aided by the Platonic distinction of body from soul and the Greek ideas of providence ( 6.7; 14.3 ), conscience ( 17.11 ), and the cardinal virtues ( 8.7 ), the author uses this synthesis to appeal also to the pagans to examine Judaism as a valid Wisdom and a way of life ( 1.1–2; 10.15–11.14 ).

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