Volume 2012, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2218-7480
  • EISSN:


It has been widely recognized that one of the root causes of the modern environmental crisis has been the rise of consumerism as both a kind of religion and a major human activity that is unsustainable. Many studies have also shown that an excess of consumerism is not a source of human happiness. While many religious environmental writers have dealt with responding to this issue, one traditional source has been relatively rare: the Wisdom tradition in the Hebrew Bible. The Wisdom tradition is found mostly in the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job but also appears in several of the Psalms. Wisdom literature is also found in such apocryphal books such as Ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon. It also is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the New Testament and rabbinic literature. Wisdom literature is also found in many other ancient Near Eastern cultures in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The Wisdom tradition sees Creation as a primary source for human happiness through the emulation of the order of Creation and the values learned. The Wisdom tradition is thus a good source for developing a Jewish ethic of sustainability. This article will outline the Wisdom tradition’s main ideas as they relate to sustainability and will show how they can be applied today as a counter tradition to the religion of consumerism.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): ConsumerismHebrew Wisdom and Jewish Sustainability ethics
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