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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides a brief overview of the book Wisdom in Transition: Act and Consequence in Second Temple Instructions and its chapters. The book argues that the era of the Ptolemies is the most likely setting for such a perspective, when a number of issues relating to death and retribution were being debated and recast. Through an examination of the sage's ethic and views on death, it attempts to clarify the specific context and purpose of the book of Qoheleth. For earlier sages in Egypt and those responsible for Proverbs and Ben Sira, prosperity and the possibility for advancement within existing social structures are a real possibility. The peripheral status of the community responsible for 4QInstruction (and 1 Enoch) necessitates a different model/vision. The book endeavors to determine the nature of this new vision, the diverse reasons for it, and its impact on sapiential discourse.

Keywords: 4QInstruction; Ben Sira; Proverbs; Ptolemies; Qoheleth; wisdom



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