Religious Studies | Topics in Ancient Israelite Religion; King Solomon and the Search for Wisdom
R410 | 25610 | S. Weitzman

The above course carries COLL A & H and Culture Studies A
distribution. Note: Jewish Studies majors contact the dept of Jewish
Studies for authorization.

The Bibleís description of Solomon has inspired two very different
images of the king: the pious sage known for his judgment and the
building of the Temple; and a lustful, overly ambitious ruler
willing to do a deal with the devil to acquire power. The wisdom of
the first Solomon, rooted in divine knowledge, is a source of peace
and prosperity. The wisdom of the second Solomon, revealing more
than it is good for any human to know, leads him in the end to
betray God.
How can Solomon have been both things at once? How can his
acquisition of wisdom have been both a divine gift and a corrupting
influence? This course will seek to answer these questions by
exploring the biblical accounts of Solomonís reign in 1 Kings and
Chronicles, the three biblical books traditionally ascribed to
Solomon (Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes) and various post-
biblical traditions found in Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and other
The course is intended for students with some prior exposure to the
academic study of biblical literature or religion who want to
develop their understanding of biblical texts and their
interpretation in later culture. The course is also designed to
develop research skills and will culminate with a seminar paper and
an oral presentation.