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How a Theology of Wisdom Undergirds Classical Education: The Figure of Speaking Wisdom in Proverbs and Beyond

“Wisdom cries aloud in the street; in the squares she thunders!” (Prov 1:20). The figure of speaking Wisdom is more than just an interesting literary device. Jewish and Christian tradition saw in a theology of Wisdom a foundation for what we would call classical education. In this presentation I propose to show how the theology of Wisdom presented in Proverbs and later Jewish and Christian texts presents us with what I call a traditional and transcending pedagogy. This traditional and transcending pedagogy is the antidote to the fragmentation of the modern world of education, specifically to three problems: scientism, technicism and pragmatism. These three -isms share the feature of reductionism, i.e. they reduce the educational endeavor to less than it is. A theology of Wisdom, however, has the power to unite all the dissected ideals of education.