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Wisdom and Torah at Qumran: Evidence from the Sapiential Texts

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The objective of this essay is to articulate the relationship between Wisdom and Torah in the sapiential texts found at Qumran and to relate these findings to earlier wisdom traditions. Two texts are the focus of the essay: 4QBeatitudes (4Q525) and 4QSapiential Admonitions B (4Q185). Emphasis is placed on these texts because 4Q525 and 4Q185 are the only Qumran sapiential texts that explicitly relate wisdom with law. In addition, they offer something new to our understanding of the varied affiliations of wisdom to Torah in the wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple period. Following a close examination of 4Q525 and 4Q185, the texts’ affirmations are positioned with respect to the Biblical wisdom traditions, ben Sira, Baruch and the Qumran sectarian texts. It is determined that none of the individual claims regarding the relationship of wisdom to Torah is unique to Second Temple thought, but the collection of ideas within 4Q525 and 4Q185 (especially 4Q185) have no exact parallel. 4Q525 and 4Q185 represent two points on the route that resulted in the succession of wisdom with Torah, the redeployment of the sapiential tradition in the service of the Law.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWisdom and Torah
Subtitle of host publicationThe Reception of ‘Torah’ in the Wisdom Literature of the Second Temple Period
EditorsBernd U Schipper, David Andrew Teeter
Place of PublicationLeiden and Boston
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-25736=8
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-25332-2
StatePublished - 2013
EventWisdom and Torah: The Status of Torah and its Reception in Wisdom Literature in the Second Temple Period - Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Sep 201124 Sep 2011

Publication series

NameJournal for the Study of Judaism Supplement Series
ISSN (Print)1384-2161


ConferenceWisdom and Torah: The Status of Torah and its Reception in Wisdom Literature in the Second Temple Period
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityHumboldt-Universität zu Berlin

    Research areas

  • Dead Sea Scrolls, Torah, WISDOM, Qumran, Sapiential Texts, 4Q525, 4Q185

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