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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Wisdom of Solomon

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Wisdom of Solomon [APOCRYPHA] is the name of one of the deuterocanonical books. The anonymous author personates King Solomon, whom he introduces as speaking; but from the citations of the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, it may be inferred that the writer had no intention of giving it to be understood that it was written by Solomon; but that he only followed a common custom of Greek and other writers, in employing the name of this distinguished royal penman. It is divided into two, or, according to some, into three parts. The first six chapters contain encomiums on Wisdom, which all, and especially kings, are admonished to acquire, as the true security against present evils, and as leading to future glory and immortality, while a contrary course tends to misery here, and still greater misery hereafter. In Wisdom of Solomon 7-8, Solomon is introduced, teaching how wisdom is to be acquired; and in Wisdom of Solomon 10, is given his prayer for this inestimable gift. Wisdom of Solomon 10-19 contains historical examples, drawn from the Old Testament showing the happiness which had resulted from the pursuit of wisdom, and the fatal consequences of sin, especially the sin of idolatry. The book concludes with divers pious and philosophical observations.

The Book of Wisdom has been always 'admired for the sublime ideas which it contains of the perfections of God, and for the excellent moral tendency of its precepts' (Horne's Introd.). Its style, observes Bishop Lowth, after Calmet, 'is unequal, often pompous and turgid, as well as tedious and diffuse, and abounds in epithets directly contrary to the practice of the Hebrews: it is, however, sometimes temperate, poetical, and sublime.' Calmet supposes that the author had read the works of the Greek poets and philosophers.

Although there have not been wanting individuals who have contended for a Hebrew, Syriac, or Chaldee original, there can be little doubt that it was written in Greek.

Nothing is known with certainty respecting the author. All that can be concluded with any degree of probability is, that he was an Alexandrian Jew, who lived after the transplanting of the Greek philosophy into Egypt, and who seems to refer to the oppressions of the later Ptolemies. Jahn conceives that the book was written at the close of the first or beginning of the second century before the Christian era.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Wisdom of Solomon'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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