Be Wise, My Son, and Make My Heart Glad
An Exploration of the Courtly Nature of the Book of Proverbs
The social and intellectual context of the material in the book of Proverbs has given rise to several proposals concerning the nature of the constituent compendia within the document as well as the function of the discourse as a whole. In light of the problems inherent in an investigation of the nature and function of Proverbs, the present study focuses on the social dimensions of the document within its distinct, literary context. That is, the study attempts to examine the nature and function of the sapiential material within its new performance context, viz., the discursive context, the Sitz im Buch. This form of analysis moves beyond the investigation of individual aphorisms to provide a concrete context through which to view the various components of the discourse as well as the discourse as a whole. In the main, the study explores the formal, discursive, and thematic features of the constituent collections within the book of Proverbs in order to identify the nature and function of the work. More specifically, the study highlights the fundamental features of the book’s discourse setting, the thematic development of the material, the ethos of the individual collections and their role within Proverbs in order to ascertain the degree to which the document may be considered a courtly piece.
Christopher B. Ansberry, Wheaton College, IL, USA.