8. The doctrine of wisdom and the term "logos"
The Jewish doctrine of wisdom first started emerging in the early years of Ro- man monarchy and was influenced by Oriental and Egyptian doctrines. This doctrine was then vastly enriched during the period of Hellenism. Even as far back as the 5th century BC, the leading religious figures among the Israelites are assumed to have become aware of the teachings of Greek philosophers. The Greek word "philosophy" means "love of wisdom" and could have marked the starting point for the esteem in which wisdom is held. The verb "to philosophize" is first used by the Greek historian Herodotus (484 - 425 BC) (The Histories I,30,2). Heraclides Ponticus, a student of Plato who lived around 390 - 322 BC, passed down an account of Pythagoras apparently saying that only a God possessed true sophía, whereas "man" could only strive to achieve it. In this respect, sophia already refers to a metaphysical being. The credibility of this re- port by Heraclides, which has only been passed down indirectly and in frag- ments, is disputed among researchers. It is not until Plato, 428/427 - 348/347 BC, that the terms "philosophy" and "philosophies" are clearly used in the sense con- veyed by Heraclides, and here especially in Plato's dialogue with Phaedrus (278d), where it is ascertained that anyone can strive for wisdom (philosophies) but only God is entitled to possess wisdom. These Greek doctrines were adapted to the Jewish faith, and "wisdom" as- sumed a widespread significance in Jewish philosophy. The...
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