Mary Baldwin University Chaplain and Assistant Professor of Religion Katherine Low presents the first in a series of faculty essays about the Mary Baldwin 2011–12 theme, “Wisdom.” The writings are intended to deepen understanding of the theme throughout the campus community and serve as a precursor for next semester’s call for students to produce their own essays or creative works (painting, musical composition, monologue, etc.) inspired by the theme. Each of the four contributing faculty members, whose work will be published on Mary Baldwin News in the coming months, represents each School of Excellence.
An ancient wisdom tradition exists in biblical literature, marked by works such as Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. This wisdom tradition varies in its perspectives but shares a common concern to evaluate the ethical aspects of human life. The book of Job contains lengthy debates on the nature of human suffering in light of the existence of an omnipotent God. The author of Ecclesiastes searches for meaning but with fruitless results, for “that which is, is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out?” (7:24). Basing their conclusions on experience, the wisdom authors of both Job and Ecclesiastes reach some daunting conclusions. Though humans try to find it, wisdom rests in an unfathomable and distant domain of the deity.
Read the rest of Low’s essay .