The frequent disregard of historical and social contexts by many scholars of wisdom often leads to the distortion of this literature, posits biblical scholar Leo Perdue, which transforms the relevant teachings into abstract ideas lacking any incarnation in the social and historical world of human living. The proper understanding of ancient wisdom literature requires one to move out of the realm of philosophical idealism into the flesh and blood of human history, Perdue argues. Here he traces the interaction between both ruling and subject nations and their sages who produced their respective cultures and their foundational perspectives.
"Wisdom literature is often perceived as timeless. Leo Perdue shatters that illusion by setting the major texts of biblical and ancient Jewish wisdom in their social and historical context. This is the first properly historical introduction to the wisdom tradition, from ancient Egyptian to Qumran."óJohn J. Collins