Book of Wisdom
Book of Wisdom was written in Greek, probably in Alexandria, around the turn of the millennium. It was in use during the times of Yesu our Lord and Philo of Alexandria. Yesu knew Book of Wisdom and the tradition in which it stands. The Scriptures produced by the Church reflect clearly how the Wisdom Tradition served as a foundation upon which Yesu built his teaching for us.
By the second century the Fathers of the western church often used Book of Wisdom and it became reverently known by Indo-Persian Christians from the start. The tenets of the book reaches further back in history than the priest-king Melchizedek, who brought the faith down to the Mediterranean to prepare the way for the new dispensation. Book of Wisdom is a tribute to King Solomon the patriarch of the Wisdom Tradition of the Mediterranean. It is a highly mystical book and uses midrash and allegory throughout.
Book of Wisdom is a refreshing and challenging book. It leaves little doubt in one’s mind that the search for the inner knowledge of God, and practising of the mysteries and the mystical devotions are what constitutes the Purpose of Life. Christians can read the book in retrospect and understand how Yesu became Christ when he attained the Mother, Wisdom our God, and how he relinquished his will to align with the Will of the Father. The conclusion of the book reminds us that Yesu’s miracles are, as he told us, only the beginning of the wonders – He calls us to do greater things than he did, because we are to follow in Christ’s footsteps and reign.
A brief discussion of some of the themes follows below.
The book starts by drawing both on Genesis and the imagery of king Solomon. The author reminds us that God calls us to reign over creation – which includes not only God’s garden, nature as we know it, but human nature as well. This aspect of the theme is also what the last two verses in the conclusion are about.
The question ‘How are we to reign’, is the central message of the book. By allegorizing the well documented early Israelite history the author supplies answers to the central question. S/he builds up a distinct soteriology that Yesu would echo some years later. The author uses the thesis, antithesis, hypothesis rhetoric of his time and expertly puts this masterpiece together in clear and refreshing volleys. The first verse (1:1) tells us the secret of how we can obtain the power to reign. In last five verses (19:18-22) the author tells us that those who conquer here have seen only the tip of the iceberg and have great and marvellous things in store – and those who do not conquer are, ‘being surrounded with horrible great darkness, everyone groping for passage through his own door’.
Book of Wisdom connects with Tao Teh Ching on many levels, the most striking of which is the ‘reigning’ theme. The message of the Tao Teh Ching is that we attain mastery over our natures by following the flow of the Energies of God, the Tao. Book of Wisdom shares the same concern and approaches the subject from a Hebrew-Judaic look at the flow of history and nature. Both Scriptures are challenging, each in its own peculiar manner.
The central doctrine of the Book occupies the first half of the work. Book of Wisdom explains the Godhead in three parts. First the author discusses the Sophia, Wisdom, the feminine emanation of God, then the author addresses the Father aspect, after which s/he talks to God for the duration of the book. Toward the end of the book it becomes clear that, we need evolved beings both to instruct and intermediate for the Godloving, and that creation serves these holy ones to the end of maintaining the True teaching.
If the question ‘How are we to reign’ is the central question of the book, then the repeated answer is ‘not by idolatry!’. The author uses many different examples, and freely allegorizes it, to bring the point of the various forms of idiolatry across. According to the Tradition idolatry is the beginning and end of all evil, and it takes a variety of forms. Various forms of idiolatry are used as example, such as: materialism, superstition, self-indulgence, slaving for the passions and other. Book of Wisdom internalises and uses the Exodus theme to show repeatedly how slavery, imprisonment, ignorance, and self-deceit are responsible for most of the suffering.
Karma and Dharma
The doctrine of Karma is heavily drawn on to repeatedly show how the Merciful Plan of God comes to our rescue. To this end we are often warned, reprimanded, provided with guidance and punished – to fulfil only one aim – salvation of souls. Regarding one’s duty as a child of God (dharma), the book has ample resources.
The central doctrines of the eastern Yesu Way: – the pre-existence of the spirit; the body, soul, spirit, triad; with its seven prominent and twelve subtle aspects — all find a very early literary expression in Book of Wisdom. These are however not major concerns for the author and s/he does not slow down to explain them, as if the author understands that the audience is conversant with the teaching.
Godless and Godloving
The Godless are those who choose to acknowledge other gods and serve them diligently (whether they be materialism, egoism, self, supposed powers or deities), turning their backs on the One God. The ‘upright’ or ‘righteous’ are those who follow in the Way to deification and acknowledge they are children of God – Book of Wisdom also calls them the Godloving.
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