Old Testament

Wisdom Literature

Wisdom and Women – Discussion Questions

Interpretation Questions:

  1. How is the depiction of the “valorous woman” in Proverbs 31 used or misused in contemporary religious settings?
  2. What are some of the dangers of depicting both wisdom and folly as tempting female figures? What about the prostitute and adulteress imagery for folly?
  3. How do we translate the misogyny of the ancient world into our own cultural context?

Application Questions:

  1. If much of the material of Proverbs is anti-prostitution and anti-female, what does this mean for Jesus’s interactions with women?
  2. Proverbs uses women as metaphors for both threats as well as the rewards of following instruction. This makes us keenly aware that men were writing for men. Were you to write a new book of proverbs, could you think of a different framing that would be less exclusionary? 
  3. Ultimately, the virtue of hard work is the only ethic presented by the Book of Proverbs. That, combined with its “anti-feminist” bent, complicates its usage today. To what extent is Proverbs applicable to a modern life?
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