oa Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary - Shame and Honour in Proverbs : wise women and foolish men - research

Volume 2018 Number Special Edition
  • ISSN : 1996-8167



The terms 'honour' arid 'shame' translate two Greek words, τιμή and ἀτιμία respectively. In classical times, these formed pivotal values in Graeco-Roman society. Cultural anthropo-logists, in their studies of different Mediterranean societies, have used the English 'shame' and 'honour' to render a variety of indigenous expressions, dealing with codes of unacceptable or acceptable behaviour. These so-called Mediterranean values have been transposed upon biblical values, by scholars eager to show continuity between the two. This study takes issue with that approach. Christianity has fundamentally influenced modem Mediterranean values, particularly with regard to issues like sexuality, purity and gender roles. Proverbs offers an understanding of shame and honour which is quite distinctive, and should be appreciated in its own right. Wisdom and folly are the pivotal values around which all other values find their proper place.

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