Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Biblical Fool

HT: Ben Witherington

“The fool says in his heart, there is no god……”. Whether we are aware of it or not ‘the fool’, like ‘the sluggard’ or ‘the sage/wise man’ are stock characters in early Jewish wisdom literature. They occur for instance in Proverbs, sometimes in personified form (see Prov. 9– Lady Folly), but more often just as a type of person, and some would say a stereotype. It occurred to me that it might be well to rehearse what the Bible says about ‘the fool’, because of course we have lots of modern notions about folly, most of which don’t match up with what the Bible means by a foolish person. For example, we might think today that a fool is a person who has no common sense about the nature of life and ‘how things work in this world’. We might think they are not practical, or ‘good with money’ (‘a fool and his money are soon parted’). In short, we might think it is a person who is not wise in the ways of the world, a person who gets into fights he cannot win, buys things he cannot use, eats foods that are not good for him, drives cars in ways that don’t pay attention to the road and weather conditions and so on. But again, those are all modern notions about folly and foolishness. What does the Bible say about fools?

You can read the rest here.