a pattern of life78 or a sociological phenomenon,79 among others.80
Most definitions of wisdom, of course, are not one- dimensional but are varying combinations of several factors noted above. This study does not seek to solve this troublesome problem. Instead, a consensus view has been followed that whatever wisdom may be, it is certainly to be found in the books of Proverbs, Job, Qoheleth, Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon.81
One final caveat is in order. That Israelite wisdom has much in common with similar phenomena in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia is now a certainty. This is more
(Tubingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1958); and Crenshaw, "Method in Determining Wisdom Influence on 'Historical Literature',"
78 79 Cf., for example, MaKane, Prophets and Wise Men. Cf., for example, R. Gordis, "The Social Background of Wisdom Literature," in Poets Prophets and Sages: Essays in Biblical Interpretation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1971), pp. 160-197; and H. Hermisson, Studien zur Israelitischen Spruchweisheit (Neukirchen- Vluyn: Neukirchzner Verlag, 1968).
80 See Kovacs, Vol. I, 31-104, for a discussion of the various ways in which definitions of wisdom have been formulated; he discusses thirteen different perspectives from which attempts have been suggested.
81Crenshaw, Old Testament Wisdom: An Introduction, p. 17; R. Murphy, Wisdom Literature: Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Esther (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), pp. 3-4.