Saturday, 2 May 2015

David Lincicum: The Wisdom of Solomon from Paul to Clement of Alexandria

The Wisdom of Solomon, distinguished by convention as belonging to the Apocryphal or Deutero-canonical books of the Christian Old Testament, came only slowly to exercise a form of scriptural authority. Leaving virtually no trace in early Jewish writings in Greek, we find the first hints of its reception in a number of more or less plausible echoes and allusions in Paul’s letters to the Romans and Corinthians, in the so-called Epistle to the Hebrews, and in 1 Peter, followed in the next century by a mere handful of allusions in 1 Clement, the Epistle of Barnabas, Tatian, and Irenaeus. It comes as a surprise, then, to find over twenty quotations and numerous allusions in Clement of Alexandria at the end of the second century, a notable interest sometimes noted but seldom explored. This paper examines Clement’s view and use of Wisdom, looking in particular for the continuities and ruptures that exist between earlier extant Christian engagement with the book and his own interpretation of it.

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