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16 - Wisdom at Qumran

from Part III - Wisdom Literature beyond the Hebrew Bible

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2022

Katherine J. Dell
University of Cambridge
Suzanna R. Millar
University of Edinburgh
Arthur Jan Keefer
Eton College
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In ‘Wisdom at Qumran’, David Skelton takes stock of the Dead Sea Scrolls and shows that they, in some ways, differ from the wisdom literature of the OT. The Scrolls lack those references to Solomon that seem so characteristic to biblical wisdom, and whilst they exhibit Wisdom as a personification, she is ‘toned down’ and appears more passive than she does in, say, Proverbs 1–9. Amplified in tone are the torah-wisdom connection and apocalyptic nature of the Qumran materials, not least the well-known raz nihyeh. Skelton also discusses the importance of poverty and hymnody in the Scrolls, to conclude by drawing these many distinctives together, as well as the Hellenistic context, pedagogy, and scribal practices, in order to reconsider the notion of ‘wisdom literature’ and the scholarly consensus surrounding it.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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Further Reading

Bennema, Cornelis.The Strands of Wisdom Tradition in Intertestamental Judaism: Origins, Developments and Characteristics’. TynBul 52 (2001): 6182.Google Scholar
Collins, John J.Wisdom Reconsidered In Light of the Scrolls’. DSD 4 (1997): 269271.Google Scholar
Collins, John J., Sterling, Gregory and Clements, Ruth A., eds. Sapiential Perspectives: Wisdom Literature in Light of Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium of The Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 20–22 May, 2001. STDOJ 51. Leiden: 2004.Google Scholar
Falk, Daniel K., Martinez, Florentino García and Schuller, Eileen, eds. Sapiential, Liturgical and Poetical Texts from Qumran: Proceedings of the Third Meeting of the International Organization for Qumran Studies, Oslo 1998. Leiden: 2000.Google Scholar
Goff, Matthew. Discerning Wisdom: The Sapiential Literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls. VTSup 116. Leiden: 2007.Google Scholar
Goff, Matthew. 4QInstruction: A Commentary. WLAW 2. Atlanta: 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harrington, Daniel J. Wisdom Texts from Qumran. New York: 1996.Google Scholar
Hempel, Charlotte, Lange, Armin and Lichtenberger, Hermann, eds. The Wisdom Texts from Qumran and the Development of Sapiential Thought. Leuven: 2002.Google Scholar
Hogan, Karina M., Goff, Matthew and Wasserman, Emma, eds. Pedagogy in Early Judaism and Early Christianity. Early Judaism and Its Literature 41. Atlanta: 2017.Google Scholar
Lange, Armin. Weisheit und Prädestination: Weisheitliche Urodnung und Prädestination in den Textfunden von Qumran. STDJ 18. Leiden: 1995.Google Scholar
Miller, Shem. Dead Sea Media Orality, Textuality, and Memory in the Scrolls from the Judean Desert. STDJ 129. Leiden: 2019.Google Scholar
Newsom, Carol A. The Self as Symbolic Space: Constructing Identity and Community at Qumran. STDJ 52. Leiden: 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Uusimäki, Elisa. ‘Maskil among the Hellenistic Jewish Sages’. Journal of Ancient Judaism 8 (2018): 4268.Google Scholar
Woude, A. van der.Wisdom at Qumran’. Pages 244256 in Wisdom in Ancient Israel: Essays in Honour of J. A. Emerton. Edited by Day, J., Gordon, R. P. and Williamson, H. G. M.. Cambridge: 1995.Google Scholar
Wright, Benjamin G. III, and Wills, Lawrence M., eds. Conflicted Boundaries in Wisdom and Apocalypticism. SBLSymS 35. Atlanta: 2005.Google Scholar

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