The Wisdom Instructions in the Book of Tobit

The Wisdom Instructions in the Book of Tobit

by Francis M. Macatangay

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Overview

Despite the resurgence of scholarly interest in the Book of Tobit in recent years, an important aspect of this deuterocanonical book has been largely overlooked. Within it, there is an instruction manual for an effective way of being and living in exile, namely the wisdom instructions in Tobit 4. With glances at Tobit 12 and Tobit 14 where the wisdom instructions are repeated in shorter form, this monograph discusses the function of the wisdom discourse in the literary design of the narrative. Moreover, it examines how the wisdom instructions of Tobit demonstrate the vital role of the sapiential tradition in forming and maintaining Jewish identity in the Diaspora. Contextualizing the wisdom instructions not only within the narrative but also within the realities of Second Temple Judaism, it is argued that the author of Tobit saw the validity and employed the resources of the Jewish wisdom tradition in reinterpreting some of the traditional claims of covenant faith.
Using the Sinaiticus as the textual basis of study, it shows that the lengthy wisdom lecture of Tobit displays an inner logic that structures the collection of seemingly unrelated sayings. The instructions reinterpret a major deuteronomic concern to remember the Lord always. For Tobit, the practice of righteousness, the practice of wise behavior, and the practice of prayer realize and concretize such remembrance. Addressed to those in the Dispersion, Tobit’s wisdom instructions are meant to foster and shape a distinct ethos of truth, righteousness and mercy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783110255348
Publisher: De Gruyter
Publication date: 03/17/2011
Series: Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies Series , #12
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Francis M. Macatangay, University of St. Thomas School of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, TX, USA.

Table of Contents

Preface v

Acknowledgments vii

Abbreviations xiii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The Integrity of the Book of Tobit 7

1.1 Indications of Redaction 8

1.1.1 Tobit 13 and 14 8

1.1.2 The References to Ahiqar 10

1.1.3 The Shift in Narrative Point of view 12

1.1.4 The Textual Traditions of Tobit 13

1.1.4.1 The Priority of GII 14

1.1.4.2 The Semitic Language of Tobit 16

1.2 Diachronic Analyses of Tobit 18

1.2.1 Józef T.Milik 19

1.2.2 Paul Deselaers 20

1.2.3 Merten Rabenau 21

1.2.4 Critical Problems with Diachronic Analysis 23

1.3 Indications of Narrative Integrity 24

1.3.1 The Dynamics of Allusion 25

1.3.1.1 Extra-biblical Influences on Tobit 26

1.3.1.2 Biblical Influences on Tobit 29

1.3.2 Narrative Signs, Designs and Resolutions 34

1.3.3 Literary and Theological Reasons for Narrative Shift 40

1.4 Conclusion 43

Chapter 2 The Wisdom Instructions in Tob 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10 and 14:8-11 45

2.1 The Textual Situation of Tobit 4 47

2.1.1 The Wisdom Instructions of Tobit 4 as Insertions 47

2.1.2 The Original Incorporation of the Instructions 49

2.1.3 A Case of Scribal Error in Transmission 50

2.2 Observations on the Narrative and Formal Features of Tobit 4 53

2.2.1 Narcological Considerations 54

2.2.1 Narratological Considerations 54

2.2.1.1 Tob 4:3-4 56

2.2.1.2 Tob 4:5-19, 21 60

2.2.2 Imperatives and Vetitives 64

2.2.3 Suggested Structure 67

2.2.3.1 The Lex Generate 74

2.2.3.2 The Leitwort in the Instructions 95

2.2.3.3 The lndusio 98

2.3 The Hortatory Words of Rafael in Tob 12:6-10 101

2.3.1 The Two Chief Instructions of Rafael 102

2.3.1.1 Tobit and Fasting 104

2.3.1.2 'Prayer with Truth' and 'Almsgiving with Justice' 106

2.3.2 Proclaim the Words of God 108

2.4 Tobif s Farewell Instructions in Tob 4:8-11 111

2.5 Conclusion 113

Chapter 3 The Narrative Function of Tobit's Instructions 115

3.1 Tobit as an Ancient Novel 116

3.1.1 Genre Suggestions 117

3.1.2 A Tale of Two Genres 118

3.2 Story and Discourse 121

3.2.1 The Shape of the Story 122

3.2.1.1 The "How" and the "What" of Tobit 123

3.2.1.2 The Five Narrative Movements 125

3.2.1.3 The Ultimate State of Lack in the Narrative 128

3.2.1.4 Narrative Structure and the Wisdom Instructions 129

3.2.2 The Characterization of Tobit 130

3.2.3 Repetition as a Literary Device 134

3.2.3.1 Varied Repetition 136

3.2.3.2 Similar yet Different 137

3.3 The Narrative Role of Tobif s Instructions 139

3.3.1 Tobit's Wisdom Discourse and Plot 140

3.3.1.1 Tobit's Wisdom Instructions as Preparatory for the Journey 142

3.3.1.2 "To be or not to be": The Character of Tobias as Key 144

3.3.1.3 The Plot as an Illustration of a Sapiential Conviction 154

3.3.2 Allusive Strategy and Tobit's Instructions 156

3.3.2.1 The Book of Tobit and Exodus 157

3.3.2.2 The Variations and their Significance 159

3.4 The Narrative Role of Rafael's Instructions 166

3.4.1 From Ignorance to Knowledge 167

3.4.2 Rafael as Wisdom Teacher 169

3.5 The Gospel of Ahiqar According to Tobit 171

3.5.1 The Story of Ahiqar 171

3.5.2 The Function of the Story of Ahiqar 173

3.5.2.1 The Story of Ahiqar as a Validation of a Teaching 173

3.5.2.2 Variations on a Theme 175

3.6 Conclusion 177

Chapter 4 The Wisdom Tradition and the Instructions of Tobit 179

4.1 The Wisdom Tradition in Israel 182

4.1.1 The Development of the Wisdom Tradition in Israel 186

4.1.1.1 Popular Wisdom 188

4.1.1.2 Wisdom Activity in the Court and in the School 190

4.1.1.3 The Wisdom Tradition after the Exile 199

4.1.2 The Book of Tobit and the Wisdom Tradition 201

4.2 Traces of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit 209

4.2.1 The Sapiential Appeal 210

4.2.1.1 The Epistemological Assumption 212

4.2.1.2 The Validity of the Wisdom Tradition 214

4.2.2 The Family as Context 217

4.2.3 The Prominence of Divine Providence 221

4.2.3.1 The Movement of the Divine Hand 223

4.2.3.2 The Metaphor of the way 225

4.2.4 The Formation of the Habits of the Heart 226

4.2.5 The Fear of God 231

4.3 Emerging Themes of the Wisdom Tradition in Tobit 234

4.3.1 Wisdom and National History 235

4.3.2 Prayer and the Wise 238

4.3.3 The Nexus of Act/Character and Consequence 241

4.3.3.1 The Doctrine of Retribution 244

4.3.3.2 Divine and Human (DOUBT) 248

4.4 Conclusion 252

Chapter 5 Tobit and Wisdom in Exile 255

5.1 A Question of Purpose 256

5.1.1 To Edify 257

5.1.2 To Entertain 259

5.2 The Sapiential and Cultic Traditions 262

5.2.1 The Increasing Prominent Role of Wisdom 263

5.2.2 Compromise? 265

5.2.3 Tobit and the Law of Moses 267

5.3 Tobit in Exile? 270

5.3.1 Tobit's Deuteronomic Explanation of Exile 271

5.3.2 Exile as an Interim Time 275

5.3.3 Exile as Root Metaphor 277

5.3.4 Boundaries Unbound 282

5.4 Wisdom in Exile 283

5.4.1 Practices that Foster Unity and Identity 286

5.4.1.1 Genealogy as Constitutive of Identity 287

5.4.1.2 Acts of lidarity 290

5.4.1.3 Preferential Option for the Disposition of the Believer 292

5.4.2 Instruction in the Wisdom of the Fathers 293

5.4.2.1 Education in Wisdom 293

5.4.2.2 Wisdom as Link Across Time and Place 295

5.4.2.3 The Superiority of God's Wisdom 296

5.5 Conclusion 299

General Conclusion 301

Bibliography 305

Index of Modern Authors 345

Index of References 353

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