Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Exegetical Theology

First Advisor

R. Reed Lessing

Scripture References in this Resource

Proverbs 8:1-3; Proverbs 9:1-3; Proverbs 9:7-12; Proverbs 1:8-4:9; Proverbs 4:20-7:27; Proverbs 5:1-23; Proverbs 6:20-35; Proverbs 7:1-27; Proverbs 8:1-36; Proverbs 9:1-18; Proverbs 9:7-12; Proverbs 1:2-6; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Proverbs 2:1; Proverbs 3:1; Proverbs 3:21; Proverbs 4:10, 20; Proverbs 6:1; Proverbs 7:1


Liu, Hsiao-Yung (Samuel) "My Son, Listen to the Instruction of Your Father: An Analysis of How the Father Rhetoric in Proverbs 1-7 Continues and Climaxes in Proverbs 8-9." Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2007. 200 pp.

This dissertation proposes the thesis that the father's rhetoric in Prov 1-7 continues and climaxes in Prov 8-9, thus supporting the unity of Prov 1-9. Although diverse voices and genres make the reading of Prov 1-9 difficult, there still exists the unifying perspective of the implied speaker in the text, which is the father's rhetoric,

Therefore, assuming that one single author or editor completed the current text in Prov 1- 9, this investigation proposes that the Sitz im Leben of the text is family and the speaker is a father, whose rhetoric is the key to a unified reading of Proverbs 1-9. That is, the same person who says directly in the fatherly discourses, "My son, listen to the instruction of your father" (Prov 1:8; see also 2:1; 3:1; 3:21; 4:10, 20; 5:1; 6:1; 6:20; 7:1) is also the one using the wisdom poems of Proverbs 8-9 to communicate indirectly. In other words, this speaking father uses the figure of personified Wisdom in Prov 8-9 as the rhetorical/imagery device to continue and to climax what he has said in the previous discourses (Prov 1-7) so that the speaker obtains a stronger rhetorical/ persuasive effect upon the listener (the listening son) and makes him listen/obey.

In order to find a unity in the text, scholars try to fill the gap made by the difference/ discontinuity of the father's voice (Prov 1-7) and wisdom's voice (Prov 8-9), providing different interpretations in the structure and reading of the text. To explain how the continuity and climax are set up, this study examines the work of both form-redactional critics and feminist critics on Proverbs 1-9. While both offer interesting insights, neither deals adequately with the challenges of the text, particularly in the area of discontinuity ( e.g., the discontinuity existing between the fatherly discourses [Prov 1-7] and the wisdom poems [Prov 8-9]). Responding to the discontinuity and dialoguing with these two methods, this study employs rhetorical criticism to demonstrate how the father's rhetoric in Prov 1-7 continues and climaxes in Prov 8-9, thus creating a unity within the nine chapters.

In the content of the dissertation, this study will argue the thesis step by step. Chapter 1 provides a general introduction concerning the setting, assumption, rationale, demarcation and outlines of this dissertation. Chapter 2 gives an overview of the secondary literature regarding form-redactional and feminist criticism, showing how these studies are able to explain the text and structure but are inadequate to approach Prov 1-7 and 8-9 holistically. Chapter 3 is the introduction to the methodology that this study follows. This study uses rhetorical criticism to help prove its thesis. Chapter 4 demonstrates the rhetorical strategies concerning how this study develops the rationale in this thesis. Chapter 5 investigates the structure and content arrangement of the father's rhetoric in the compositional dimension, in which symmetry and repetition are the two principles used to investigate the inclusio, center, chiasmus, contrast, and climax of the text. Chapter 6 deals with the persuasive dimension, particularly with the stylistic elements, the speaker's ethos, the listener's pathos and imagery devices. Chapter 7 presents the conclusions of this study based on all that has gone before. The thesis that the father's rhetoric in Prov 1-7 continues and climaxes in Prov 8-9 will be confirmed.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.