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Eschatological Wisdom: The Book Of Mysteries (1q27; 4q299- 301)

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Chapter Summary

The book of Mysteries is a fascinating and enigmatic text. It contains a powerful scene of the ultimate obliteration of the wicked and offers a deterministic theology compatible with that of the Treatise of the Two Spirits (IQS 3:13-4:26). It is intended for a group that is considered to have elect status with access to supernatural revelation. Mysteries proclaim the destruction of the wicked and teach the nature of God’s dominion over the world. Mysteries are often considered a sapiential work. But the classification of its genre is disputed. This chapter argues that Mysteries should be understood as a wisdom text, but the case for this identification is not clear cut. If one’s definition of wisdom is restricted to biblical wisdom, Mysteries are not a sapiential composition. Mysteries, like 4QInstruction, are an example of Jewish wisdom in the late Second Temple period that is influenced by the apocalyptic tradition.

Keywords: enigmatic text; eschatological wisdom; Jewish wisdom; Mysteries; sapiential work; Second Temple period; supernatural revelation; wisdom text



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