Wisdom and Wealth in the Septuagint of Proverbs

Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison (1990)

This study investigates the way the LXX shapes the relation between wisdom and wealth in Hebrew Proverbs. The translator of LXX Proverbs sought to contemporize the ancient Hebrew proverbial wisdom in order to address the social and spiritual needs of a Jewish community in a cosmopolitan Greek milieu . ;The translator's view is that the "innocent" are favored because they are righteous, and further, that the poor are deserving of the financial support of those better off . The translator motivates Jews of all social classes to piety by teaching that wisdom/righteousness results in wealth . The Hebrew also contains this belief, but in addition it teaches the more "earthly" view that wealth is the means to achieve influence, opportunity, or power. This "earthly" view is what the translator expunged. The translator further reinforces the teaching in Hebrew Proverbs that wisdom brings not only financial gain but power and social standing . Finally, as part of his appeal to pursue traditional wisdom and piety, in LXX-Prov 2:17 the translator warns against the temptation to reject the inherited tradition of wisdom. ;While it is true that tendentious alterations in LXX Proverbs have shifted the book's teaching on wealth, this should not lead to an exaggeration of the number and substance of alterations, as in previous studies. My study divides alterations up into clarificational and theological alterations. Other studies have pushed for an association with a discernable school or philosophy . But I argue that most alterations are merely clarificational. Nevertheless the translator has altered the Hebrew enough to consistently teach that wealth and social standing accrue from wisdom and piety. The most significant alterations come when the translator attempts to produce a univocal view of the relation between wisdom and wealth, namely that wealth is only the result of wisdom and should not be sought outside of the framework of traditional Jewish wisdom and piety
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