The third major part of the Old Testament, “the Writings,” includes all the books not in the Law and the Prophets. This CLAA course includes just the Wisdom books, since we have dealt with the other books (Ruth, Psalms, Lamentations, Esther, Judith, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles, Tobit, and Maccabees) inside of those courses where they fit historically. (See Prophets I and II Course Descriptions.)
Aside from presenting the material in chronological fashion, this allows us also to spend an entire course just on the Wisdom literature: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, and Sirach.
This literature is the Hebrew equivalent to the classical literature of the Greeks—it is the brightest and best, the distilled wisdom of generations and generations of experience, thought, and meditation by holy men, inspired by God, who were quite literally in love with wisdom. It does not focus primarily on history, but rather on both a contemplative and practical understanding of God and His ways with man.
Taking our lead from the literature itself, this course will have the same three goals:
Learning to use the wisdom literature to come to a deeper understanding of God
Learning to take the fruits of this contemplation and apply them very practically to everyday Christian life.
Learning to love wisdom.
Throughout the classical Catholic tradition, these books were revered and meditated on carefully. They were the source book for questions about the highest and most unsearchable aspects of God Himself, but also for the most practical questions regarding the daily living out of holiness. Having a foot both on earth and in Heaven, they are the perfect preparation for the Christian who would know God and love and serve Him in this life.
Being both earthly and Heavenly, they are also the perfect preparation for reading in the Gospels about the one who IS God’s Wisdom incarnate:
“Now with you is wisdom, who know thy works and was present when you made the world.” (Wisdom 9:9)
“Christ is . . . the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24)
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)
This course, then, will read through the wisdom literature carefully for a deeper understanding of God, a practical application of this understanding in Christian life, and as a preparation for reading about Christ in the Gospels, who is the perfect Incarnation of the wisdom of God.
Nathan Schmiedicke, Ph.D.
Dr. Nathan Schmiedicke is the director of the CLAA Biblical Studies program. Dr. Schmiedicke was born the fifth of eleven children and raised on a small family farm in Michigan. He attended Catholic school through eighth grade and was home-schooled through High school. After graduating with honors from Thomas Aquinas College (CA) he married his college sweetheart, and began graduate school at Marquette University (Milwaukee). He completed his PhD in Biblical Theology in 2007 and began teaching Theology, Scripture, and languages at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, PA and classics at nearby Villanova University. Dr. Schmiedicke is a Senior Fellow with the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Nathan and Wendy have five boys.