New Book by Fr. Schmidt
Congratulations to Fr. Jordan Schmidt, O.P., on the publication of his new book, Wisdom, Cosmos, and Cultus in the Book of Sirach. Fr. Schmidt teaches courses on the Old Testament for the Pontifical Faculty.
De Gruyter, the book’s publisher, provides the following overview of Fr. Schmidt’s work.
Despite the attention that has already been paid to the theme of creation in the book of Sirach, scholarship has yet to provide a comprehensive analysis of Ben Sira’s instruction regarding the cosmic order and its role in the divine bestowal of wisdom upon human beings.
This book, which consists of two parts, fills a lacuna in scholarship by offering such an analysis. The first part of this study examines Ben Sira’s three main treatments of the created world, thus providing a comprehensive description and synthesis of Ben Sira’s doctrine concerning the created order of the cosmos. The second part of this work analyzes the place of human beings in general, and the Jewish people in particular, within the cosmic order. This second part includes an analysis of the role of the created order in Ben Sira’s wisdom instruction in 1:1-10 and 24:1-34 as well as an elucidation of the way in which his treatments of various kinds of people—civic leaders, wives, doctors, manual laborers, scribes, and cultic personnel—are integral to Ben Sira’s doctrine of creation. This study demonstrates that the created order is a fundamental category that Ben Sira relies upon in articulating his instructions about wisdom and wise behavior.