Wisdom Literature (Old English)

(1276 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Wisdom literature is difficult to define for a modern audience because the category has all but fallen out of use. For the most part, knowledge has taken the place of wisdom. And while these categories may at first sight seem very similar, the in the kind of world view they represent they are markedly different. In Anglo-Saxon England, wisdom is essentially old, handed down and traditional, whereas today knowledge is new, all about research and innovation; wisdom is concrete, obvious and knowable by all, whereas modern knowledge is abstract, difficult and expert; Old English wisdom is communal and popular, whereas knowledge today is elitist and individualistic. The Anglo-Saxons valued wisdom, and expressed it particularly in maxims …

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Cavill, Paul. "Wisdom Literature (Old English)". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 April 2003
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1274, accessed 30 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Literary Genres and Modes