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Durham e-Theses
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Toward a Renewed Christian Reading of Proverbs 8

HUGHES, BRIAN,CHRISTOPHER (2023) Toward a Renewed Christian Reading of Proverbs 8. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 11 May 2026.


This thesis is a study of Proverbs 8 as Christian Scripture. The recognition of a text as Christian Scripture is a contestable and complicated one, and this dissertation explores the various facets of it in an attempt to produce a reading of Proverbs 8 which is fruitful for a faithful Christian life today. The thesis begins with a section laying out a foundation for studying a passage. First, a chapter offers a methodology for studying the passage with attention to its historical, literary, and theological facets. Next, standard philological analysis is applied to Proverbs 8, the results of which form the basis of reflection in the remainder of the dissertation.

In the second section of the dissertation, the life of the text through the history of interpretation is explored through the lens of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s concept of wirkungsgeschichtliches Bewusstsein. Pre-modern readers (Athanasius and Matthew Henry) are compared with modern readers of two types: those writing without an explicit claim to benefit Christian faith (Otto Plöger, Michael Fox, Bernd Schipper) and those who do have some discernable desire for their research to positively impact Christian faith (Franz Delitzsch, Gerhard von Rad, Tremper Longman, Daniel Treier). The comparison of these illustrates both the changes within the discipline of biblical studies and the rich capacity of the text to generate meanings in various contexts.

This richness leads into the third section of the dissertation, in which attempts are made toward a renewed Christian reading of the text. The section begins with an engagement with Paul Ricoeur and Charles Taylor, two major thinkers who offer an opportunity to re-think biblical study. Then the book and passage are read through the heuristic of a conception of wisdom as embodied know-how. The dissertation ends with three readings of the passage which each draw the text into a different sphere of reflection: existential, theological, and canonical.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:12 May 2023 14:11

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