Anat as a precursor of Lady Wisdom in Proverbs 8:22–31
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This dissertation investigates the identity of Lady Wisdom, the enigmatic figure in Proverbs 8:22–31. The presupposition of this investigation is a widely shared expert interpretation, namely, that Lady Wisdom is a multifaceted female divine figure whose origin and characteristics are interwoven with those of a number of ancient Near Eastern goddesses. The main contribution of this project is to argue that the Ugaritic goddess Anat be considered a possible precursor of Lady Wisdom. According to the author, a fluid and complementary relationship exists between Lady Wisdom’s depiction in the Hebrew Bible and Anat’s depiction in ancient Near Eastern religions, especially since certain aspects of their origin, status, and function are similar. The project also sheds light on the pivotal role of Lady Wisdom as a co-creator and mediator of the heavens and the earth. She should be regarded as a co-creator who is an active and mobile participant in God’s creative work; she is found not only in Proverbs but also in other biblical and deuterocanonical traditions. Moreover, she is a perfect mediator not only between the creation traditions and wisdom literature but also between the divine and human realms. Her mysterious identity is manifested in her own words and in others’ descriptions of her. Humans can either accept or reject Lady Wisdom, but only those who recognize and appreciate her divine knowledge are able to embrace truth in their lives.