Is Amos (Still) among the Wise?


The book of Amos and the prophet himself continue to be interpreted in light of the Israelite wisdom tradition on the basis of proposed links to wisdom forms, vocabulary, and ideas, plus geographical factors. Although some studies have considered individual suggestions of wisdom influence in Amos, they reach different conclusions. In addition to this lack of consensus, to date no one has considered all the arguments for wisdom influence in Amos together. This article fills that gap by presenting a detailed analysis of all such claims, demonstrating that even in the few cases where there is a superficial similarity between Amos and wisdom forms, terms, or ideas, such features have a function or nuance in the book of Amos that is very different from their use in the wisdom tradition. Thus, Amos should no longer be interpreted in light of the Israelite wisdom tradition.