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Qumran Wisdom Literature and the Problem of Genre

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The Dead Sea Scrolls include several writings that can be reasonably identified as wisdom texts. But the compositions that are regularly so classified contain a range of diverse perspectives and themes, and this problematizes the search for a common ingredient that makes them readily identifiable as sapiential literature. There were ancient authors who composed instructional works steeped in older didactic traditions that are well represented by the book of Proverbs. Such works can be legitimately classified as wisdom. But their authors did not conceive of wisdom as a precise or specific genre and our means for identifying wisdom texts are subjective and somewhat loose.

Affiliations: 1: Florida State University, Email:


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