Original Research - Special Collection: Perspectives on Peace in the Bible

‘Dink voordat jy praat’: Die krag van die tong by Philo en Jakobus

Gert J. Steyn
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 1 | a3027 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.3027 | © 2015 Gert J. Steyn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 May 2015 | Published: 30 September 2015

About the author(s)

Gert J. Steyn, Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


‘Think before you speak’: The power of the tongue by Philo and James. It is appropriate to reflect on the ability of language in pursuing and establishing peace. This contribution briefly explores the Jewish Wisdom literature, the Jewish-Hellenistic philosophy of the corpus Philonicum and the wisdom genre of James 3 as valuable sources on the power of the tongue. At least five practical guidelines regarding speech and its role in the creation of peace are deduced from these three collections of literature: the tongue might be small, but its effects are powerful; believers’ speech should be characterised by truth and honesty; there are times when one needs to speak up and openly; but there are also times that one should be cautious and rather keep quiet; wisdom is needed in exercising the ability to differentiate when to speak and when to keep quiet. It is important, however, to develop the ability to distinguish when to speak and when to keep quiet.


James; Philo of Alexandria; Wisdom of Sirach; Peace; Power of the Tongue


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