Wisdom literature  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Wisdom literature is a genre of literature common in the Ancient Near East. This genre is characterized by sayings of wisdom intended to teach about divinity and about virtue. The key principle of wisdom literature is that while techniques of traditional story-telling are used, books also presume to offer insight and wisdom about nature and reality.

The most famous examples of wisdom literature are found in the Bible. The following Biblical books are classified as wisdom literature:

(Wisdom and Sirach are deuterocanonical books, placed in the Apocrypha by Protestant Bible translations.) The genre of mirror-of-princes writings, which has a long history in Islamic and Western Renaissance literature, represents a secular cognate of biblical wisdom literature. Within Classical Antiquity, the advice poetry of Hesiod, particularly his Works and Days has been seen as a like-genre to Near Eastern wisdom literature.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Wisdom literature" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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