As could be expected with any culture that carries a rich blend of oral and writtentradition, the Second Temple period religious literature features extensive hortatoryworks exploring the heroism and faithfulness of the Jews
forebears. While other workscertainly bear evidence of its inﬂuence (1 Maccabees, Tobit, 1 Esdras), this type ofexpression shows up most strongly in the wisdom literature of the Inter-testamental era.It also appears in Stephen
s speech before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7 and the exhortatory“hall of faith” in Hebrews 11. Given the close resemblance of these texts to twosigniﬁcant New Testament passages, an exploration of their function, theology, anddirection may give us insight into the minds of Stephen and the author of Hebrews andwhat they sought to convey in the early days of the Church.
Because of the apparent connections these texts have with covenant, wisdom,and teachings regarding the same, the scope of this paper will be limited to the broadfoundations of covenant in Jewish understanding — a span that stretches from Adam toMoses. While other covenants, like those with Aaron, Phinehas, and David, are certainlysigniﬁcant to Jewish thought, they are not as inﬂuential within the realm of interactionbetween Ben Sira, Wisdom, and the New Testament texts. Additionally, the hero text ofWisdom only goes as far as Moses and to go further would dilute the attention that itmerits in this study. It is the author
s hope to discuss the basic contents of the texts,their respective theologies, and in what ways they interact. An analysis of thisinteraction — whether it be positive, negative, or simply co-existent — ought to provideinsight into the relationship between the observant Jewish traditions, particularly thoseof the Diaspora, and the Nazarene sect that emerges in the ﬁrst century convertingJews and Gentiles throughout the Roman world to the God of Israel.