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Election And Revelation: General And Special Wisdom

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that the general outpouring of wisdom upon all creation amounts to a form of general revelation. This revelation is available to all humanity through the natural world, and thus the author terms this wisdom "general wisdom". The chapter suggests that the special distribution of wisdom to the elect constitutes a kind of special revelation. This wisdom is labelled "special wisdom". Ben Sira famously juxtaposes Wisdom and Torah. Most scholars refer to this juxtaposition as the "identification" of Wisdom and Torah. Concretely, the Torah is a divine guidebook. It represents the divine wisdom instruction (torah with a lower-case t) par excellence. For Ben Sira, the guidebook instructs individual Jews in how to live their lives with respect to both the ethical and ritual dimensions. The chapter examines how the author's description of Ben Sira's understanding of general and special wisdom relates to his notion of election.

Keywords: Ben Sira; election; general wisdom; revelation; special wisdom; Torah



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