Ronald Cox Publishes Article on Wisdom of Solomon and Greek Influence on Jewish View of Salvation
In December 2021, Ronald Cox, professor of religion, published “Along a marvelous way: The significance of Middle Platonism for understanding Wisdom of Solomon’s soteriology” in the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha. The article seeks to progress understanding of how Greek philosophy influenced Jewish, and consequently Christian, views of salvation, specifically regarding the relationship between God and creation.
An analysis of Sophia, the personification of wisdom, as savior and salvation in the Jewish writing Wisdom of Solomon reveals a similarity to the “divine intermediaries” in the writings of Greek philosophers such as Alcinous, Plutarch of Chaeronea, and Numenius of Apamea. The Wisdom of Solomon, a Jewish text written in Greek, shares parallels with Middle Platonism that suggest an emphasis on the nature of being, highlighting “how any individual soul at any time may be guided ‘along a marvelous way’ (10:17) toward God.”
The role of intermediary in creating and saving the world has been an area of interest for Cox since he wrote his dissertation. When asked to present a paper on this topic at the Society of Biblical Literature, Cox was interested in the prospect of looking further at the connection between Jewish and Greek literature. This article is a revision of his paper presented at the conference.
“As Jews articulated their faith in Greek, they made parallels and connections, telling themselves a story that gave them a sense of place and establishment amongst the Greeks,” Cox shares. “It’s important to note how Jewish thinkers were drawing from the broader world to articulate their faith and the possibilities and challenges that creates for how we interact as Christians with the broader world.”
To read more, visit the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha.