Interest in literature on wisdom derived from Israel and ancient Middle Eastern cultures has increased considerably in recent decades. Research findings from archaeological, theological, and cultural studies illustrate how sages decisively shaped the literature and language of a culture. Their influence extended to the arts, social and religious institutions, and the sciences. In ancient Israel and Judah, the Middle East , and in the Greco-Roman Empire, sages, similar to priests, prophets, and kings, made up their own social class. The essays in this volume examine this particular group of wise men in context of their time. Unlike other studies, the focus here lies in the social aspect of this caste of sages.
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