Teaching Morality in Antiquity

Wisdom Texts, Oral Traditions, and Images
Ed. by T.M. Oshima with Susanne Kohlhaas

[Die Lehre von Moral in der Antike. Weisheitstexte, mündliche Überlieferungen und Bilder.]

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The eighteen articles collected in this volume are the results of the international workshop, »Teaching Morality in Antiquity: Wisdom Texts, Oral Traditions, and Images,« held at the University of Leipzig in 2016. They discuss diverse issues related to wisdom texts and morality.
The eighteen articles collected in this volume are the results of the international workshop, »Teaching Morality in Antiquity: Wisdom Texts, Oral Traditions, and Images,« held at the Bibliotheca Albertina of the University of Leipzig between November 29th and December 1st, 2016 with the financial support of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. During the workshop, fruitful discussions on diverse issues related to the theme »wisdom texts and morality« developed regarding biblical wisdom texts and their parallels from the ancient Egypt, ancient Mesopotamia, and the ancient Levant – more specifically: moral messages and rhetoric in wisdom texts; the dissemination of wisdom teachings; teachings about the divine realm as the core of moral principles or human social order; visualization of divine authority; questions of theodicy; and modern analyses of ancient morality through the eyes of cognitive science.
Survey of contents
I: Wisdom and Gods as the Foundation of Morality in Ancient World
Jan Dietrich: Wisdom in the Cultures of the Ancient World: A General Introduction and Comparison – Jan Assmann: Tugenden und Pflichten nach altägyptischen Morallehren

II: Ancient Near Eastern Wisdom Texts
Yoram Cohen: Why »Wisdom«? Copying, Studying, and Collecting Wisdom Literature in the Cuneiform World – Alan Lenzi: »Counsels of Wisdom« as »White-Collar« Wisdom in First Millennium Ancient Mesopotamia – Herbert Niehr: Weisheit in den Königsepen aus Ugarit

III: Comparative Studies of Ancient Near Eastern Wisdom Texts
Noga Ayali-Darshan: »Do not Open your Heart to Your Wife or Servant« (Khasheshonqy 13:17): A West-Asiatic Antecedent and its Relation to Later Wisdom Instructions – Daniel Bodi: Two Animal Proverbs in Ahiqar and in Aesop on Human Relationships: Mercilessness and Sharing – Enrique Jiménez: An Almost Irresistible Target: Parodying the Theodicy in Babylonian Literature

IV: Moral Teaching in the Book of Job
Edward L. Greenstein: Proverbs and Popular Sayings, Real or Invented, in the Book of Job – Dominick S. Hernández: The Expression of Moral Judgments through Imagery in Job and Ancient Near Eastern Literature – Ludger Schwienhorst-Schönberger: »Jetzt aber hat mein Auge dich geschaut« (Ijob 42,5): Gibt es im Ijobbuch eine Lösung des Problems auf der Ebene des Bewusstseins?

V: Questions of Theodicy in the Ancient Near Eastern World
Alexandra von Lieven: »Ich habe nicht befohlen, dass sie Unrecht tun«: Das Theodizee-Problem im Alten Ägypten – Thomas Krüger: Morality and Religion in Three Babylonian Poems of Pious Sufferers – T.M. Oshima: »When the Godless Thrives and a Wolf Grows Fat«: Notions of the Prosperity of the Impious in Ancient Mesopotamian Wisdom Texts

VI: Visual Demonstration of Divine Authority
Izak Cornelius: Communicating Divine Order and Authority: The Stela of Hammurapi of Babylon – Judith E. Filitz: At the Threshold of Ritual and Theater: Another Means on Looking at a Mesopotamian Ritual

VII: Ancient Morality through the Perspective of Cognitive Science
Yitzhaq Feder: Morality Without Gods? Retribution and the Foundations of the Moral Order in the Ancient Near East – Karolina Prochownik: Gods and Goodness by the Rivers of Babylon: A Cognitive Scientific Approach to Ancient Mesopotamian Moral Theology

Takayoshi M. Oshima is a researcher at the Institute for Old Testament Studies, the Faculty of Theology, of the University of Leipzig, Germany.

Susanne Kohlhaas Born 1986; 2016 MA in Assyriology from Leipzig University; ; 2011–15 research assistant at the Institute for ancient Near Eastern Studies at Leipzig University; 2016–18 research assistant at DFG project »Teaching Morality in Antiquity".


The following reviews are known:

In: Journal for the Study of the OT — 45 (2021) (Bálint Károly Zabán)
In: Review of Biblical Literature — (5/2020) (Al Wolters)
In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 145 (2020), S. 514–516 (Rainer Kessler)
In: Schweiz.Zeitschr.f.Rel.-u.KulturG — 113 (2019), S. 431–433 (Stefan Bojowald)
In: Old Testament Abstracts — 45 (2022), p. 617 (Michael W. Duggan)
In: Reading Religion — (Raleigh Heth)