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Solomon, Wisdom and the Philosopher‐Kings

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Chapter Summary

The Wisdom of Solomon contains three full chapters (7-9) which have, lying behind them, the events of 1 Kings chapters 1-10 and the almost parallel account in 2 Chronicles 1-9. In the Wisdom of Solomon the divine gift of wisdom does not come alone: it brings with it riches and happiness, but it does so because wisdom also subsumes reason, the possession of the virtues, long pursuit of education, and an inclination for the good. This chapter explores what kind of position, if any, does Solomon as the philosopher-king occupy along the trajectory of a developing literary tradition. We can see pointers to Solomon the magician, the exorcist, and the astrologer. The merging of the Solomon of legendary wisdom, the biblical king, with Platonist and later Hellenistic aspirations of kingship, gave a philosophical context to Jewish history and expectations.

Keywords: Hellenism; philosopher-kings; Solomon; wisdom; Wisdom of Solomon

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