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4 ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’: History and the Divine Economy in Wisdom 10.15–19.22

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Chapter Summary

The Exodus pattern of the condemnation of the ungodly and the salvation of the righteous functions as the paradigmatic matrix within which Wisdom's manipulated reactivation of pentateuchal history finds canonical legitimation. While it is basically accurate to note that Wisdom 11-18 follows the plague cycle of Exodus 7-12, Wisdom's narrative re-presentation of the biblical material is much more inventive than an exegetical game of follow the textual leader. The Egyptian plagues are set in antithetical pairs with events from Israel's wilderness sojourn, thereby constructing a symmetrical theology of history shaped by the principles of divine justice and moral order that have driven Wisdom's theologising in the book's first two sections. Within this balanced historiography, the ungodly Egyptians consistently meet their inevitable and appropriate destruction whereas righteous Israel, while occasionally tested and disciplined, finds salvation in the just mercy of God.

Keywords: Egyptian plagues; Exodus pattern; God; salvation; Wisdom



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