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Early Israelite Wisdom$
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Stuart Weeks

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198270072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198270072.001.0001

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(p.92) 6 Joseph
Early Israelite Wisdom

Stuart Weeks

Oxford University Press

Since the publication of an article on Joseph by Gerhard von Rad in 1953, the Joseph Narrative in Genesis 37–50 has been regarded by many scholars as a manifestation of early wisdom with close links to Proverbs. Von Rad does not describe the Joseph Narrative as a text ‘influenced’ by the wisdom tradition, but as a wisdom text itself. For him, the story was composed to embody the educational ideals of the wise men, whom he supposes to have been active in the royal court under the early monarchy. On the one hand, Joseph is depicted in such a way as to exemplify their ideals of behaviour, while on the other, the underlying theological presuppositions of the work are identical to those of the wisdom literature. This chapter examines both the characterization of Joseph and the theology of the narrative.

Keywords:   Proverbs, early wisdom literature, Joseph, Genesis, Gerhard von Rad

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