Jaco Gericke

Jaco Gericke is associate research Professor in the Department of Theology and Philosophy in the Faculty of Humanities at the North-West University’s Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa. He holds two doctorates, one in Semitic Languages (2002) and one in Old Testament Studies (2004), both from the University of Pretoria and completed after general post-graduate studies in Theology and Philosophy. He has also completed three post-doctoral fellowships, including a one year DAAD scholarship in Germany during 2007-2008. Since 2010 he has been permanently employed by the North-West University and has also obtained a rating from the National Research Foundation.

Professor Gericke’s research focuses exclusively on interdisciplinary research between Hebrew Bible Studies and Philosophy. More specifically, his work is concerned with utilizing descriptive varieties of philosophy of religion to clarify the Hebrew Bible’s own covert assumptions about the nature of religion, religious language, the nature and existence of gods, religious epistemology, religion and morality, religion and history and religious diversity. Professor Gericke’s first book, The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion was published by the SBL towards the end of 2012 and represents an introduction to his thoughts on these matters. As for interest in a specific biblical book, he has also published several articles on various aspects of Qohelet’s thought (in continuation of the interest of his first dissertation).

Currently Professor Gericke is working on self-developed project exclusively concerned with a philosophical clarification of metatheistic assumptions in the Hebrew Bible. On the one hand he hopes to provide an answer the question of what, according to the texts, was a god (in the generic sense) assumed to be.  On the other hand he is interested in Yhwh qua literary character’s personal identity as a philosophical problem.

The love of wisdom in Proverbs 8 – a comparative-philosophical clarification

Philosophy and love are etymologically related. It is well-known that the word “philosophy” literally translates as the “love of wisdom.” And the love of wisdom it is, despite the fact that the subject has always been about loving much more than that. As for the Hebrew Bible, it is not commonly thought of as philosophical in nature (according to the stereotypes of western folk-philosophy). Yet many texts speak of love in a variety of contexts and the corpus does contain wisdom literature. More specifically, there is a chapter in the Book of Proverbs that explicitly deals with the concept of the love of wisdom: Proverbs 8:1-36. However, despite extensive and intensive exegetical, theological and philosophical work done on the Hebrew Bible’s conceptions of love and on the wisdom literature, one will look in vain for an in-depth descriptive philosophical clarification of the concept of the love of wisdom in Proverbs 8. In response to this gap in the research, this paper seeks to reconstruct the folk-metaphysics, epistemology and ethics implicit in the Hebrew poetry of Proverbs 8 so as to elucidate what the sages might have meant by and how they understood the love of wisdom. This is done from a comparative-philosophical perspective that aims to relate ancient Israelite perspectives on the matter to those found in early Greek meta-philosophical thought. In addition, the basic outline of the presentation will be structured around key issues in contemporary analytic philosophy of love.