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Title: ‘The Wisest of All Men’: Solomon’s wisdom in Medieval Jewish commentaries on the Book of Kings
Authors: Berger, David
Elman, Yaakov
Gurock, Jeffrey S.
Keywords: Jewish philosophy
Bible --Criticism, interpretation, etc., Jewish.
Jews --History --To 586 B.C.
Solomon, King of Israel
Issue Date: 1997
Publisher: Michael Sharf Publication Trust of the Yeshiva University Press ; Hoboken, NJ : distributed by Ktav
Citation: Berger, D. (1997). ‘The Wisest of All Men’: Solomon’s wisdom in Medieval Jewish commentaries on the Book of Kings. In Hazon Nahum: Studies in Jewish Law, Thought and History presented to Dr. Norman Lamm on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday (pp. 93-114). Yeshiva University Press.
Series/Report no.: Bernard Revel Faculty Publications;1997
Abstract: The Book of Kings informs us that Solomon was granted incomparable wisdom, but it presents a narrative of his reign which stands in considerable tension with this assertion. Both religious transgressions and troubling policy decisions engender serious doubts about Solomon's judgment, and these in turn raised a series of intriguing challenges for Jewish biblical commentators in the Middle Ages. ¶ What is the meaning of wisdom in general and of Solomon's wisdom in particular? Was Solomon granted miraculous discernment ex machina, or did this divine gift build upon impressive preexisting intellectual strengths? What is the relationship between wisdom and piety? To the extent that these are intertwined, we need to understand Solomon's real or apparent transgressions. How many sins are to be imputed to him, at what points in his life did he commit them, and how serious were they? Was his marriage to Pharaoh's daughter permissible, moderately objectionable, or profoundly sinful? Did he act knowingly or inadvertently? How should we view the multiplicity of horses, the accumulation of wealth, the many wives? Is it possible that he really worshipped idols in the straightforward sense of the term? Finally, on a . more mundane but no less critical level, was he guilty of policy errors, including unconscionable levels of taxation and forced labor, that led to the political catastrophes, both foreign and domestic, which followed in the wake of his reign? (from Introduction)
Description: Scholarly book chapter
ISBN: 0881255998
Appears in Collections:Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies (BRGS): Faculty Publications

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