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Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by Pergamum, Nov 25, 2011.
Wisdom 2:12-20: Prophecy Fulfilled in Jesus Christ...by Matt1618
It appears the good doctors are mistaken in their statements.
Just a quick observation and question on The Book of Wisdom. Does it not sound strange an obvious reprobate was allowed to contribute to the writings of the scripture? Which of course I don not believe it is.
Who is the reprobate?
1) The book is not a part of the Hebrew canon. It is a Greek work. None of the inspired NT authors make any allusion to this text (strange, if it was Scripture and prophetic).
2) If its literary conceits are taken at face value, this work of the 1st or 2nd century BC purports to be a Solomonic product: from ch.9
 Thou hast chosen me to be king of thy people
and to be judge over thy sons and daughters.
 Thou hast given command to build a temple on thy holy mountain,
and an altar in the city of thy habitation,
a copy of the holy tent which thou didst prepare
from the beginning.This, however, would be a blatant fiction, if it were intended to be believed on the face of it. Manifest falsehoods, however mixed with truth, make for an unreliable prophet.
On the other hand, he may not have intended his work to be taken literally for Solomon's. So, these lines might simply be additional allusions to OT data which the author is gathering into a literary product that delineates his own pious and/or Messianic hopes.
3) What are we to make of the vv from ch.2, that sound so "Messianic"?The question isn't hard to answer. The author of WoS is familiar with his Bible (OT), and in particular he is indebted to Isaiah and David for much of his language and allusions. If there be found a strong Messianic pulse in his work, then it--along with various literary remains from Qumran--proves that prior to Jesus Christ (and Christian interpretation of the OT) there was a tradition of Jewish interpretation that was able to bring together many of the strands of OT expectation, which ultimately finds "uncanny" (?!) fulfillment in the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.
In other words, people like Mary or Zechariah, whose songs of praise are presented early in the NT Gospels, belonged to an established pious tradition within ancient Judaism. Their Messianic hopes were fulfilled (albeit in many unexpected ways), yea and surpassed, in Jesus. The author of this WoS is a kind of "preacher," in writing. So far as we know, he's skillfully composed a pious, OT Scripture meditation. If it puts us in mind of Christ, we still can't tell if that was the writer's intent. But it does prove that Christian reflections on the OT have what look like (or may be interpreted as) mirror images in pre-Christian Judaic literature.
I'll add, in answer to the "curiosity" of the so-called reprobate prophet, that the "clip" from the Romanist leaves off the beginning of the chapter, in which we have: But ungodly men by their words and deeds summoned death;
considering him a friend, they pined away,
and they made a covenant with him,
because they are fit to belong to his party.
 For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves,
"Short and sorrowful is our life,
and there is no remedy when a man comes to his end,
and no one has been known to return from Hades.... etc.
That is to say, the words above are put in the mouth of the wicked. This is something that the prophets frequently do, just look at David, Ps.2:3, or Solomon, Prv.1:11ff, or Isaiah, 30:16, and so on.
Thank you Rev. Bruce.
Looking like it contains a Messianic Prophecy, in other words, is not enough to land it a part in the canon?
How would you answer Catholic apologists who state that this "fulfilled prophecy" points as a proof to its canonicity? The allusion of the Jews mocking Jesus in Matthew is said to be a reference to this "prophecy" adding another point to the canonicity test (contains prophecies, is quoted or alluded to by the NT).
The 2nd Helvitic Confession contains the testimony, "The preaching of the word of God is the word of God." By this, they do not claim that such preaching belongs in the canon. They do not claim that the preacher stands beside the prophets. He stands beneath them. If he faithfully presents God's Word as they delivered it to him, then he has served as a valid transmitter of the truth. The people of God must receive his testimony as the very authority of God.
But the preacher is not inspired. And neither is the author of WoS. There weren't any prophets for 400 years, until John the Baptist. WoS did not enter into the Jewish Scriptures. It is not a part of the heritage of the church from OT Israel.
Go read the whole of the book. Bible, Revised Standard Version As I read through it, it strikes me more and more as a meditation upon Scripture, and especially the latter portion of Isaiah's prophecy, from which there are dozens of allusions in the first six chapters alone. You get a parallel to Prv.8 in chs.7-8 of WoS. Later chs. mix exaltation of wisdom with OT history. If you know your Bible, you cannot miss his dependence on the actual inspired text.
As a whole, the book is pious, the author is acquainted with (true) Scripture, and he's literate--but the book is no more inspired than Shepherd of Hermas. There's a pretty obvious strategy to the Romanist appeal to this book to get the Protestant to hesitate on excluding the Apocrypha. Accept this one, and the others come along.