HUMAN WISDOM: ,SOPHIA‘ AND THE WISE ONE (SOPHOS) A SOPHISTIC SPEAKER. COMPARATIVE STUDIES OF SPEECH IN THE SEPTUAGINT AND THE NEW TESTAMENT
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Even though it is widely known that Christian sophists existed at the time of the compilation of the Bible, less research exists about the place and function of sophistry in the Bible. The major part of research about sophists at this time focuses on the cultural differences between pagan and Christian culture. We use the New Testament as a source for the study of the position the sophists had in the early Christian writings as a contemporary group of speakers at the time of the writers of the New Testament. Here we find statements that we can clearly identify as statements against contemporary sophists. These sophists are here called the sophoi, a collective term of Biblical writers that was used without differentiation between groups of people that promoted wisdom in spoken words. In contrast to the sophos of the Proverbs that stands in the tradition of wisdom literature, the sophoi in sophistic tradition mentioned by the writers of the New Testament were representatives of worldly wisdom the authors separated from the wisdom of the monotheistic god. The Greek language used at that time, Koine, includes several meanings of the word sophos, and their interpretation and the contrast to the Old Testament can clearly show the difference between groups of wise people. The linguistic complexity behind the groups related to the concept of the sophos can be traced back to the Greek Koine spoken in Hellenized societies. The word had different culturally tradited meanings, cultural settings, and implemented new meanings. So many occurrences in Biblical texts of the New Testament we can interpret as an immanent criticism and act of distinction of this group from other groups in the Hellenistic culture.
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