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Biblical Wisdom Literature

Delve into a rich and complex body of writings that have influenced theologians and philosophers for millennia in this course on the wisdom literature of the Bible.

Watch First Lecture

36 Lectures

1
Image of Introduction to Biblical Wisdom Literature
Introduction to Biblical Wisdom Literature
0 of 31 min
2
Image of The Place of Proverbs in the Bible
The Place of Proverbs in the Bible
0 of 30 min
3
Image of Collections of Proverbs
Collections of Proverbs
0 of 30 min
4
Image of The Poems of the Book of Proverbs
The Poems of the Book of Proverbs
0 of 30 min
5
Image of The Relation of Proverbs to Covenant
The Relation of Proverbs to Covenant
0 of 30 min
6
Image of Interlude—Some Wisdom Psalms
Interlude—Some Wisdom Psalms
0 of 29 min
7
Image of Job and the Suffering of the Innocent
Job and the Suffering of the Innocent
0 of 29 min
8
Image of Job—The First Cycle of Conversations
Job—The First Cycle of Conversations
0 of 31 min
9
Image of Job—Deepening the Conversation
Job—Deepening the Conversation
0 of 29 min
10
Image of Job—Second and Third Conversation Cycles
Job—Second and Third Conversation Cycles
0 of 28 min
11
Image of Job—The Wisdom Poem and the Conclusion
Job—The Wisdom Poem and the Conclusion
0 of 31 min
12
Image of Job—Elihu's Defense of God's Honor
Job—Elihu's Defense of God's Honor
0 of 30 min
13
Image of Job—Reflections on the Book as a Whole
Job—Reflections on the Book as a Whole
0 of 31 min
14
Image of Interlude—Prayer in Times of Suffering
Interlude—Prayer in Times of Suffering
0 of 29 min
15
Image of Qoheleth—The Inadequacy of Human Wisdom
Qoheleth—The Inadequacy of Human Wisdom
0 of 33 min
16
Image of Qoheleth—Skepticism about Easy Answers
Qoheleth—Skepticism about Easy Answers
0 of 30 min
17
Image of Qoheleth—Keeping Faith during Confusion
Qoheleth—Keeping Faith during Confusion
0 of 33 min
18
Image of Interlude—Wisdom Psalms for Uncertainty
Interlude—Wisdom Psalms for Uncertainty
0 of 28 min
19
Image of Sirach—A Traditional Approach to Wisdom
Sirach—A Traditional Approach to Wisdom
0 of 29 min
20
Image of Sirach on the Cultivation of Virtue
Sirach on the Cultivation of Virtue
0 of 29 min
21
Image of Sirach's Wisdom Poetry
Sirach's Wisdom Poetry
0 of 32 min
22
Image of Sirach on Divine Providence within History
Sirach on Divine Providence within History
0 of 29 min
23
Image of The Song of Songs—Love as the Answer
The Song of Songs—Love as the Answer
0 of 30 min
24
Image of The Song of Songs—Levels of Meaning
The Song of Songs—Levels of Meaning
0 of 29 min
25
Image of Interlude—Wisdom Psalms on Perseverance
Interlude—Wisdom Psalms on Perseverance
0 of 31 min
26
Image of Daniel—Wisdom through Dream Visions
Daniel—Wisdom through Dream Visions
0 of 31 min
27
Image of Daniel—God's Providential Plan for History
Daniel—God's Providential Plan for History
0 of 32 min
28
Image of The Wisdom of Solomon on Divine Justice
The Wisdom of Solomon on Divine Justice
0 of 30 min
29
Image of The Wisdom of Solomon on Death
The Wisdom of Solomon on Death
0 of 33 min
30
Image of The Wisdom of Solomon on Prayer
The Wisdom of Solomon on Prayer
0 of 30 min
31
Image of The Wisdom of Solomon on Divine Providence
The Wisdom of Solomon on Divine Providence
0 of 32 min
32
Image of Interlude—A Wisdom Psalm on Torah
Interlude—A Wisdom Psalm on Torah
0 of 32 min
33
Image of Jesus as Wisdom Teacher
Jesus as Wisdom Teacher
0 of 32 min
34
Image of Jesus and the Wisdom Stories in the Gospels
Jesus and the Wisdom Stories in the Gospels
0 of 33 min
35
Image of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount
Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount
0 of 29 min
36
Image of Overview of Biblical Wisdom Literature
Overview of Biblical Wisdom Literature
0 of 31 min

Reviews

d********m
August 9, 2016

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S********m
July 11, 2014

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R********m
August 30, 2013
This is now my favorite Teaching Company course (I’ve been a customer for 12+ years). I held off getting it since I had read some negative comments about Father Koterski’s voice/presentation style, and also wondered about his perspective as a Roman Catholic priest. In the end, my interest in the subject and the positive comments of other reviewers persuaded me to get the course on audio download. I planned on breaking up the Biblical Wisdom lectures with lectures from another course (which I sometimes do when I’ve got a 36 lecture course on hand and feel like taking a break from a subject), but this course kept my attention right through the Old Testament into the New Testament. I attribute a good deal of the appeal of this course not only to Father Koterski’s teaching style, organization of material, personal asides and interpretations (with which he is quite free, but always alerts us when he is rendering a personal opinion), and observations, but also to his background. Yes, he is a Roman Catholic priest, a Jesuit, and knows the Bible, but he also has solid scholarly background in classical languages and philosophy. Considering that the Bible’s Wisdom Literature is the most philosophical portion of the Bible, Father Koterski comes to the task uniquely qualified as both a scholar and a believer. I did not want an academic treatment by a non-believer of this topic, drained of the spirit and meaning (or worse, treated in an incredulous or demeaning manner). After listening to all 36 lectures, I think I am safe in saying that even open-minded non-believers would find the course interesting, if for no other reason than to get a better perspective on Jewish and Christian belief, thought, and practice. Father Koterski also uses various versions/translations of the Bible. I sensed that he was especially sensitive to those of us from the Protestant tradition in some comments and elaborations, as well as in Bible references. These lectures are well worth the purchase if only for the masterful seven lecture treatment of Job. I came also to really appreciate the five Interlude lectures devoted to the Wisdom Psalms, in which Father Koterski provided multi-layered context and useful advice in how to meditate on and use those Psalms in prayer. Throughout, Father Koterski makes a point of relating each book to other parts of the Bible and to the other Wisdom books. There is some repetition in this regard, but in my opinion it is necessary over so many lectures. My ignorance of the background of the Apocrypha was greatly diminished by the lectures and especially fostered an appreciation of Ecclesiasticus (or Wisdom of Sirach) and Wisdom of Solomon. According to Father Koterski the Wisdom Literature of the Bible is not understandable without reference to covenant, especially that of God with Noah, which “…explains something about why bad things sometimes happen to good people—why the wicked sometimes prosper and the innocent sometimes suffer.” (Course Guidebook, page 23), and he carries this through into the New Testament. Along with covenant is fear of God (as, for example, being the beginning of Wisdom), and it is handled in such a thorough and reasonable way that I wish it could be shared more widely. A significant theme that surfaces even more explicitly is the reference to and significance of an afterlife. Father Koterski notes that only in Daniel is there an explicit mention of an afterlife (going beyond mention of the pit/Sheol) found, for instance, in Proverbs. This sets the stage, proceeding through the later Apocrypha into the New Testament, in which OT Wisdom Literature has its culmination in Jesus Christ. Here, Father Koterski focuses on The Sermon on the Mount and, in the matter of grace, the Lord’s Prayer. As one can tell, I found this a great course taught by a knowledgeable and personable professor. Where else can one find a discussion of biblical wisdom literature that not only includes mention of derivations and meanings of Hebrew and Greek words and their relationships to other books of the Bible, but also references to James Joyce, Rene Descartes, Greek Tragedy, the Da Vinci Code, Mesopotamian and Egyptian influences, Epicurus, Shakespeare, and Plato? I’ve since bought a copy of Gerhard Von Rad’s Wisdom in Israel recommended by Father Koterski and have begun listening to Father Koterski’s earlier TC course on Natural Law and Human Nature (lecture nine of which has a good thumbnail summary of Father Koterski’s OT portion of the longer Biblical Wisdom Literature course.) In the wings for me is Father Koterski’s TC course on Aristotle’s Ethics. Would it be too much to hope that the Teaching Company would have Father Koterski handle a course on an Old Testament theme or even in the New Testament, perhaps on the making of the NT Canon (-: , or on St. Thomas Aquinas?

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