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Perils of Wisdom engages the biblical Solomon narrative that appears in the Book of Kings and its reception by Jewish texts from scriptural sources through the traditional commentaries of the Middle Ages. By systematically following the thread of exegesis through biblical, rabbinic, targumic, and medieval Jewish texts, and by examining their interplay with other ancient, Christian, and Islamic treatments of Solomon, Keiter traces the emergence and ascendance of an apologetic image of Solomon that has colored Jewish perceptions of the biblical king ever since.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4378-4
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Publication Status: In Print
Publication Date: Sep 24,2021
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 404
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4378-4
$140.00
Your price: $98.00

Perils of Wisdom engages the biblical Solomon narrative that appears in the Book of Kings and its reception by Jewish texts from scriptural sources through the traditional commentaries of the Middle Ages. The Bible presents a complex portrait of Solomon as both the wise Temple-builder as well as an idolatrous sinner while posing the problem of how the wisest of all men to whom God spoke could have ultimately worshipped other gods. Over history, Jewish literature has had to contend with Solomon’s mixed legacy. It has done so by variously ignoring the difficult aspects of his narrative, by apologizing for Solomon’s conduct, or by criticizing him for his errors. Sheila Tuller Keiter examines these multiple and disparate responses to the Solomonic problem posed in Kings, teasing out the motivations for the varying portraits of Solomon. Keiter demonstrates how the critical intent of biblical works attributed to Solomon was lost over time and how these very attributions inadvertently served to repair Solomon’s reputation. By systematically following the thread of exegesis through biblical, rabbinic, targumic, and medieval Jewish texts, and by examining their interplay with other ancient, Christian, and Islamic treatments of Solomon, Keiter traces the emergence and ascendance of an apologetic image of Solomon that has colored Jewish perceptions of the biblical king ever since.

Perils of Wisdom engages the biblical Solomon narrative that appears in the Book of Kings and its reception by Jewish texts from scriptural sources through the traditional commentaries of the Middle Ages. The Bible presents a complex portrait of Solomon as both the wise Temple-builder as well as an idolatrous sinner while posing the problem of how the wisest of all men to whom God spoke could have ultimately worshipped other gods. Over history, Jewish literature has had to contend with Solomon’s mixed legacy. It has done so by variously ignoring the difficult aspects of his narrative, by apologizing for Solomon’s conduct, or by criticizing him for his errors. Sheila Tuller Keiter examines these multiple and disparate responses to the Solomonic problem posed in Kings, teasing out the motivations for the varying portraits of Solomon. Keiter demonstrates how the critical intent of biblical works attributed to Solomon was lost over time and how these very attributions inadvertently served to repair Solomon’s reputation. By systematically following the thread of exegesis through biblical, rabbinic, targumic, and medieval Jewish texts, and by examining their interplay with other ancient, Christian, and Islamic treatments of Solomon, Keiter traces the emergence and ascendance of an apologetic image of Solomon that has colored Jewish perceptions of the biblical king ever since.

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ContributorBiography

Sheila Keiter

Sheila Tuller Keiter received a Ph.D. from the department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She teaches on the Judaic Studies faculty at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles.

Table of Contents (v)
Acknowledgments (ix)
Introduction (1)
   The Challenges Posed by Solomon (1)
   Scope of this Work (3)
   Methodology (5)
   Overview of Chapters (13)

Section One. Solomon in the Bible (17)
Chapter 1. Introducing Solomon in the Book of Kings (19)
   Basic Narrative (19)
   Background to Kings (23)
   Deuteronomy 17 and 1 Samuel 8 (26)
Chapter 2. Solomon’s Portrayal in Kings (39)
   The Succession Narrative (39)
   The Golden Age Approach (47)
   Solomon as Flawed from the Start (56)
   Positive or Negative Portrait (71)
Chapter 3. Solomon in the Book of Chronicles (79)
   Background to Chronicles (79)
   Solomonic Apologetics in Chronicles (82)
   The Chronicler’s Effect (93)
Chapter 4. Solomon in Other Biblical Sources (99)
   Psalms (99)
   The Book of Nehemiah (103)
Chapter 5. Introducing the Three Solomonic Works (105)
   Proverbs (106)
   Ecclesiastes (107)
   The Song of Songs (114)
Chapter 6. The Role of Solomon in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes (119)
   Solomon in Proverbs (119)
   Solomon in Ecclesiastes (123)
Chapter 7. Solomon in Song of Songs (135)
Chapter 8. The Debate over Canonicity (153)
   Problems Posed (153)
   The Shape of the Canon (158)
Chapter 9. Rabbinic Debates over the Nature of Solomonic Works (165)
   Defilement of the Hands (165)
   Hiding Books (176)
   Consequences of Canonization (179)

Section Two. Solomon in Classical Rabbinic Literature (183)
Chapter 1. Solomon in Second Temple Literature and Early Christian Writings (185)
   Second Temple Literature (186)
   Christian Writings (189)
   The Esoteric Solomon (192)
Chapter 2. Introduction to Midrashic Sources and Major Midrashic Traditions (195)
Chapter 3. Solomon’s Wisdom (205)
Chapter 4. Debates over Whether Solomon Sinned (215)
Chapter 5. Solomon’s Legacy (221)
   Solomon and the Fate of the Temple (221)
   Solomon’s Portion in the World to Come (230)
Chapter 6. Loss of the Throne and Ashmedai (235)
Chapter 7. The Road to Redemption (247)
   Agur and Lemuel (247)
   Solomon’s Repentance (252)
Chapter 8. Criticism Versus Apologetics (257)

Section Three. Solomon in the Targumim (267)
Chapter 1. Introduction to Targumim and Targum to Kings (269)
   Introduction to Targumim (269)
   Targum to Kings (272)
Chapter 2. Targum Qohelet (277)
Chapter 3. Targum Song of Songs (283)
Chapter 4. Targum Sheni and Solomon in Islam (295)

Section Four. Solomon in the Middle Ages (305)
Chapter 1. Introduction to Medieval Commentary (307)
Chapter 2. The Song of Songs in the Middle Ages (317)
Chapter 3. Commentary on the Solomon Narrative in Kings (325)
Chapter 4. Solomonic Apologetics in the Middle Ages (335)

Conclusion. The Rehabilitation of Solomon (343)
Bibliography (361)
Index of Primary Sources (381)

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