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Practical Wisdom: The Instruction Of 4q424

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Chapter Summary

4Q424 contains nothing incompatible with the practical and conservative ethos of Proverbs 10-31. The Qumran text is dedicated to the traditional sapiential goal of promoting financial and social success. The document shows very little interest in God or structure of the created order. 4Q424 exhibits no concern for revelation, eschatology, the angelic world or anything else that could be considered apocalyptic. If the document was written in a village setting, the addressee would have power locally, being influential in terms of employment and decision-making, but would not be among the elites of the country. It is unlikely that the author of 4Q424 was a member of the yaḥad. 4Q424 has a prominent interest in the administration of legal affairs but displays no concern for halakhah in a manner compatible with the Damascus Document. 4Q424 is exclusively devoted to practical and common sense topics in a manner consistent with Proverbs 10-31.

Keywords: 4Q424; Damascus Document; halakhah; practical wisdom; Proverbs; Qumran text; yaḥad



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