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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The wisdom texts from Qumran are almost all non-Essene in origin, and date mostly to the third and second centuries BCE. They provide new insights into how Jewish wisdom thought developed in this period, but are far removed from the early proverb collections that are still perceived as characteristic of Jewish wisdom literature. The sapiential texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls show that in ancient Judaism, Job and Qohelet are exceptional responses to the cognitive crises of wisdom caused by the problem of theodicy. A more common answer was Torah wisdom, which claimed that God had revealed the sapiential order of the universe on Mt Sinai in the shape of the Torah. Texts such as Musar le Mevin and the Book of Mysteries declared the sapiential order of the universe a mystery, which was accessible only by specially trained sages.

Keywords: Qumran wisdom texts, Jewish wisdom thought, Torah, Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Judaism, Book of Mysteries, sapiential texts

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