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The Rewards Of Wisdom: 4qsapiential Work (4q185)

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Chapter Summary

4QInstruction, the largest wisdom text of the Dead Sea Scrolls, does not give prominence to either the Torah or Israel. 4Q185 is another witness to this type of Jewish wisdom, as is the Wisdom of Solomon. 4QInstruction and book of Mysteries shed light on another stream of the sapiential tradition, transformed by influence from the apocalyptic tradition. The core intent of 4Q185 is to promote the acquisition of wisdom. The text invokes fiery judgment and the inevitability of human death as incentives to lead an ethical and fulfilling life. The work exalts the man who has wisdom as happy and enumerates the rewards of wisdom. 4Q185 personifies wisdom as a woman to a limited extent. The association of wisdom with the Torah is a more important lesson in the composition than the conception of wisdom as a woman. 4Q185 teaches that wisdom should be obtained with sincere and honest devotion.

Keywords: 4Q185; 4QInstruction; 4QSapiential work; apocalyptic tradition; Jewish wisdom; rewards of wisdom; sapiential tradition; Torah; wisdom text



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