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The theological paraphrasing of history: The Exodus tradition in the Wisdom of Solomon

Keywords: Exodus tradition , Wisdom of Solomon , Historical interpretation , Jewish diaspora , Jewish Wisdom tradition

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Abstract:

This study of the reinterpretation of the exodus tradition in the Wisdom of Solomon investigated the possibility that the reinterpretation entailed the alignment of history and wisdom. To come to grips with this alignment, attention had to be paid to its Greco-Roman context, whilst also taking into consideration the literary and theological structure of the Wisdom of Solomon, as well as its rhetoric and genre. In a theologically creative manner, Wisdom (as divine personification) and history (as memories of salvation during the Exodus) were combined in the Wisdom of Solomon to convince the Jews in the diaspora that justice would prevail – not only in this life but also thereafter. By means of poetic imagery, rhetorical skill, historical reinterpretation and imaginative wisdom theology, religious identity were not only bolstered to resist a dominant Greco-Roman culture but also to develop a positive view of creation according to the values of wisdom exemplified by the reinterpreted Exodus traditions.

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