Seeing the World and Knowing God: Hebrew Wisdom and Christian Doctrine in a Late-Modern Context

Paperback | January 18, 2015

byPaul S. Fiddes

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This book aims to create a Christian theology of wisdom for the present day, in discussion with two sets of conversation-partners. The first are writers of the "wisdom literature" in ancient Israel and the Jewish community in Alexandria. Here, special attention is given to the biblical booksof Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. The second conversation-partners are philosophers and thinkers of the late-modern age, among them Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, Julia Kristeva, Paul Ricoeur, and Hannah Arendt. In the late-modern period there has been a reaction against an inheritedconception of the conscious and rational self as mastering and even subjugating the world around, and there has been an attempt to overcome the consequent split between the subject and objects of observation. Paul S. Fiddes enters into dialogue with these late-modern concerns about the relation between the self and the world, proposing that the wisdom which is indicated by the ancient Hebraic concept of hokmah integrates a "practical wisdom" of handling daily experience with the kind of wisdom which is"attunement" to the world and ultimately to God as creator and sustainer of all. Fiddes brings detailed exegesis of texts from the ancient wisdom literature into interaction with an account of the subject in late-modern thought, in order to form a theology in which seeing the world is knowing a Godwhose transcendent reality is always immanent in the signs and bodies of the world. He thus argues that participation in a triune, relational God shapes a wisdom that addresses problems of a dominating self, and opens the human person to others.

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This book aims to create a Christian theology of wisdom for the present day, in discussion with two sets of conversation-partners. The first are writers of the "wisdom literature" in ancient Israel and the Jewish community in Alexandria. Here, special attention is given to the biblical booksof Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. The secon...

Paul S. Fiddes is Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Oxford and Director of Research, Regent's Park College, Oxford. His publications include Baptists and the Communion of Saints: A Theology of Covenanted Disciples (Baylor University Press, 2014) and The Promised End: Eschatology in Theology and Literature (Wiley Blackwel...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:448 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.95 inPublished:January 18, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198709757

ISBN - 13:9780198709756

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Table of Contents

I: Setting the Scene1. The Cry for Wisdom2. The Mood of the Late-Modern World3. Where Were You? Self and OtherII: Wisdom as Observation and Participation4. The Elusiveness of the World and the Limits of Wisdom5. The Complexity of the World and the Extent of Wisdom6. The Seeing Self and Wisdom as Observation7. Hidden Wisdom: a Theology of Presence and PlaceIII: Wisdom in the World8. Metaphor and Mystery in the Interpretation of Wisdom9. Wisdom as a Search for the Sum of Things10. The Text of the World and the Comprehensiveness of Wisdom11. The Process of Learning and the Rejection of WisdomCoda12. Attunement to Wisdom: from Observation to Participation

Editorial Reviews

"This is an important book that illuminates every topic it discusses and it discusses a great deal." --Paul Richardson, The Church of England Newspaper