Old Testament Wisdom Literature: A Theological Introduction, By Craig G. Bartholomew and Ryan P. O'Dowd
Old Testament Wisdom Literature
  • Length: 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: May 01, 2018
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 5218
  • ISBN: 9780830852185

*affiliate partner

The books of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes are rooted in the order created by the one true God. Their steady gaze penetrates to the very nature of created reality and leads us toward peace and human flourishing. Craig Bartholomew and Ryan O'Dowd tune our ears to hear once again Lady Wisdom calling in the streets.

Old Testament Wisdom Literature provides an informed introduction to the Old Testament wisdom books Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job. Establishing the books in the context of ancient Near Eastern wisdom traditions and literature, the authors move beyond the scope of typical introductions to discuss the theological and hermeneutical implications of this literature.

"Clear, accessible and insightful. Bartholomew and O'Dowd have teamed up to produce an introduction to the theology of wisdom that will not only inform the readers' minds but encourage their spiritual development as well. Great for classroom use."

Tremper Longman, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

"For an introductory level book, there are rich pickings to be found in Old Testament Wisdom Literature! The tone of the book is accessible enough to make it an appealing and stimulating experience for any 'reading Christian,' but there are also depths here to engage even the most seasoned student of the Old Testament's Wisdom literature. The key to this book's success is in its title--it is truly a theological introduction, and this sets it apart from other introductory volumes to the Wisdom literature. Careful explanation of critical issues regarding Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes is followed by close readings of specific texts and consideration of their lasting theological significance. And the concluding chapters on Jesus as the Wisdom of God, and the theology of the Wisdom literature both in the original and in today's context are, quite simply, masterful. If you want to 'get wisdom' (Proverbs 4:5), then this book will be a tremendously helpful companion for the journey."

Jamie Grant, vice principal, Highland Theological College

"Be not misled: this is much more than a theological introduction to the Old Testament wisdom books. It is a wide-ranging survey of their significance against their ancient Middle Eastern background and in the context of modern study. It stresses and explicates their poetic nature, and it makes illuminating links with modern and postmodern thinking."

John Goldingay, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Craig Bartholomew and Ryan O'Dowd have given the church a theology of Wisdom literature that is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Its apples of gold are its profound, penetrating and accurate insights into Old Testament wisdom. These are set in the silver settings of discerning evaluations, an engaging style, and the best of ancient and modern scholarship."

Bruce Waltke, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Regent College, and Distinguished Professor of Old Testament, Knox Theological Seminary

"The book's strengths, including its rigorous exegesis, faithfulness to the Biblical text, readability, recommended reading lists, thorough indices, and accessibility and applicability to Christians across the spectrum--laity, pastors, and scholars--make this an essential volume for studying the Old Testament Wisdom Literature."

Russell L. Meek, Southwestern Journal of Theology, 56,1

"Within their discussion of aesthetics, Bartholomew and O'Dowd argue for the value and role of the arts. They demonstrate how wisdom unites heart and mind, as well as how poetry is a primary vehicle for conveying wisdom. Although written for pastors and seminary students, this book is accessible for anyone interested in Wisdom literature."

Stephen M. Vantassel, BibleStudy Magazine, July August 2011



1. An Introduction to Old Testament Wisdom
2. The Ancient World of Wisdom
3. The Poetry of Wisdom and the Wisdom of Poetry
4. Proverbs
5. Women, Wisdom and Valor
6. Job
7. Where Can Wisdom Be Found?
8. Ecclesiastes
9. For Everything There Is a Season
10. Jesus, the Wisdom of God
11. The Theology of Old Testament Wisdom
12. The Theology of Wisdom Today

Author Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index


You May Also Like

Craig G. Bartholomew

Craig G. Bartholomew is director of the Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology in Cambridge, UK. He has written and edited numerous books, including Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition, Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics, Beyond the Modern Age (with Bob Goudzwaard), The Drama of Scripture (with Michael Goheen), The Doctrine of Creation (with Bruce Ashford), and The Old Testament and God.

Ryan P. O'Dowd

Ryan P. O'Dowd is pastor of Bread of Life Anglican Church of Ithaca, New York, and senior fellow at Chesterton House, Cornell University. He also holds adjunct faculty positions at Gordon College and The King's College in New York City. He is the author of The Wisdom of Torah.