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This is a new and ground-breaking study of the nature and origins of the earliest material in the book of Proverbs, drawing on evidence from Israel and neighboring countries in the ancient Near East. This literature has been widely believed to have originated as pedagogical material, designed for the education of future administrators in the royal bureaucracy from the time of Solomon. That belief has played an important part not only in the interpretation of the texts, but in reconstructions of Israelite society and history. In this book, Weeks challenges this belief, arguing that it is largely founded on assumptions which are now widely discredited, and he sets out to re-evaluate the evidence in the light of more recent research. Weeks's illuminating conclusions will have important implications for the future study of this material, and for our understanding of ancient Israel's society and history.