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Genre and Openness in Proverbs 10:1-22:16
Suzanna R. Millar
AIL 39
Publication Date
March 2020



A fruitful reading strategy that reveals expansive meaning in Proverbs

Interpreters often characterize Proverbs 10:1–22:16 as a dead-end of cold, disengaged dogma closed off from the realities of the world. In Genre and Openness in Proverbs 10:1–22:16, Suzanna R. Millar takes a different view, arguing that the didactic proverbs in these chapters are not dull and dry but are filled with poetic complexities open to many possible interpretations and uses. By incorporating paremiology, the technical study of the proverb genre, Millar sheds light on important debates such as character development, kingship, the connection between act and consequence, and the acquisition of wisdom.


  • A clarification of the genre of the sayings in light of modern genre theory
  • A linguistic analysis of how openness is generated in biblical proverbs
  • An examination of the didactic use of proverbs to train the hearer’s mind

Suzanna R. Millar is a teaching fellow in Hebrew Bible at the University of Edinburgh. She is the assistant director of Edinburgh’s Centre for Theology and Public Issues and the cochair of the “Animals and the Bible” research unit for the European Association of Biblical Studies.

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