Some of the biblical documents such as Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiasticus, and the Wisdom of Solomon are of a distinctive type and are classified by scholars as the “wisdom literature” of the Bible. From a literary standpoint, the concept of wisdom among the biblical writers has roots in an oral tradition that precedes the writings of the scribal class. The speaker says that this wisdom tradition is “cosmopolitan” in character, meaning that you can find evidence of it in a variety of cultures where it finds expression in unique ways. The underlying truth is universal but the mode of expression is specific to a particular time and place. In the East, this wisdom tradition finds expression in the revered collection of anonymous writings called the Upanishads. For example, one of the specific doctrines of the wisdom tradition is karma, which is a principle of balance whereby every action has definite consequences. Contrary to the popular misconception that karma is a fatalistic doctrine, the speaker says that karma is a free-will concept that allows us to shape our future. Although the word “karma” is a Sanskrit word, the basic of karma is found in many religions, including many passages in the Old Testament. In this lecture, the speaker affirms that a genuine sense of the “inner life” is essential before we can hope to understand the parables and paradoxes attributed to Jesus and other great spiritual leaders. 1993. 67 minutes.