On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 2, the Introduction of Wisdom
In the opening presentation of our commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon, we provided and refuted many of the popular academic opinions of the work and the frequently-repeated criticisms concerning the nature of its text, by which the provenance and veracity of the work have long been challenged. So although we have already provided commentary on the opening verse of the text, which we also hope to continue here, we realized that some of the newer material discussing the Wisdom of Solomon had further-developed criticisms which must also be addressed. So before continuing, we shall do that here.
In the introduction to its own presentation of the Wisdom of Solomon, the New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS) claims under the subtitle “Character of the Greek” that “There is widespread recognition that the [Wisdom of Solomon] was composed in Greek… The book is an example of a protreptic work (προτρεπτικὸς λόγος), an exhortation to adopt a particular philosophy, and it deploys literary genres familiar from Hellenistic rhetorical texts including the diatribe… the ‘problem’ genre… and the comparison (σύγκρισις…) Correspondingly… the book is written in a good Greek style and shows none of the characteristics of translation Greek.”
Yet it is commonly exhibited that the Book of Proverbs is also “an example of a protreptic work… an exhortation to adopt a particular philosophy”, and further, that the literary diatribe is a common feature of the writings of the Hebrew prophets. Some examples of Classical Greek literature have been recognized as having the attributes of the genre more recently identified as the Problem Play, such as the 5th century work of Euripides titled Alcestis, as are other early works, as well as the Book of Job which is found in the Bible, which we can certainly esteem to date to as early as the 12th or 13th centuries BC, however it definitely predates the Classical Greek period. Lastly, the σύγκρισις, or synkrisis, is a literary form of comparison, and it has been identified as a feature of both the gospel of John and some of the epistles of Paul, especially in the epistle to the Hebrews. But forms of the so-called σύγκρισις are also found in the Hebrew Old Testament. So none of these features of grammar are exclusive to Hellenistic writings, and these charges against the Wisdom of Solomon are meaningless because these things do not prove it to be a product of the Hellenistic period.