By Joel A. A. Ajayi

Old cultures, resembling that of the Hebrews, mostly linked knowledge with complicated years. In A Biblical Theology of Gerassapience the writer investigates the validity of this correlation via an eclectic strategy - together with linguistic semantic, tradition-historical, and socio-anthropological tools - to pertinent biblical and extra-biblical texts. There are major diversifications within the estimation of gerassapience (or «old-age wisdom») in each one interval of historic Israel’s existence - that's, in pre-monarchical, monarchical, and post-monarchical Israel. all through this research, applicable cross-cultural parallels are drawn from the cultures of historic Israel’s pals and of recent societies, resembling the West African Yoruba tribe. the general effects are bi-dimensional. at the one hand, there are semantic parts of gerassapience, resembling the elusiveness of «wisdom» and the gentle fluidity of «old age». either phrases have powerful contextual affinity with minimum exceptions. therefore, the attribution of knowledge to outdated age is clear yet no longer absolute within the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). nonetheless, gerassapience is depicted as basically didactic, via direct and oblique directions and counsels of the aged, fostering the saging fear-of-Yahweh legacies. in most cases, socio-anthropocentric trends of gerassapience (that is, of creating outdated age a repertoire of knowledge) are checked by means of theological warrants of theosapience (Yahwistic wisdom). for that reason, within the Hebrew Bible, the phobia of Yahweh can be the start of getting old and clever.

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44 Although Gunkel’s form-critical studies focused only on the smallest units of tradition, he left a strong impression on two major scholars who gave tradition-historical criticism its proper coating. In the 1930s, Gerhard von Rad and Martin Noth ushered in a new era in Old Testament research with regard to a consistent investigation of the history of its traditions and transmission. 45 Noth was the first scholar to posit Überlieferungsgeschichte or tradition history in a precise definitive context.

Smith, “Attitudes Toward Aged People in the Old Testament,” Biblical Illustrator 12 (Summer 1986): 40. Stephen Sapp, Full of Years: Aging and the Elderly in the Bible and Today (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1987), 127–28. Harris, God and the Elderly, 35. , 103. Harris also later wrote a short article on “Old Age” in 1992 which seems to be a summary of his earlier book. See J. Gordon Harris, “Old Age,” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, 1992: 10–12. His latest essay highlights biblical teachings on spirituality in old age, which includes illustrative biblical cases, such as, Caleb (Numbers, Joshua), Barzillai (2 Samuel), and Naomi (Ruth).

Three stages that have won tentative scholarly consensus regarding the Hebrew wisdom development include the family, royal and scribal stages. For example, see Roland E. Murphy, The Tree of Life: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature, The Anchor Bible Reference Library (New York: Doubleday, 1990), 3–5; and Ronald E. Clements, Wisdom in Theology, The Didsbury Lectures, 1989 (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1992), 22–26. For a few examples, see Westermann, Blessing in the Bible, 35–39; Joseph Blenkinsopp, Wisdom and Law in the Old Testament: The Ordering of Life in Israel and Early Judaism, The Oxford Bible Series (Oxford/New York/Toronto: Oxford Univ.

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