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Act and Consequence in Second Temple Instructions

In some regard his work overlaps with that of Proverbs using similar linguistic techniques. Corley identifies different areas of resemblance between Proverbs and Sirach. Generally, the concept of honour and shame plays a larger role in Sirach than in Proverbs.

Sirach's presentation of these topics is also more systematic than that of the variegated collection of Proverbs. The two forms of scribal wisdom also differ from each other. Ben Sira not only re-contextualises the saying of Proverbs in a second century BCE framework, he also sets his teaching in a much broader intertextual structure.

He complements his ideas with the cognitive content found in the biblical Law and Prophets, as well as those in other contemporary Near Ancient texts.

Quoting, alluding and referring to them, he creates a "figured world" around the wisdom theme. Poverty functions within this "intertextual connections" in Sirach. With regard to the phenomenon of poverty the wisdom oriented literature in Sirach evolved into a more literary application of the material found in Proverbs and elsewhere.

It is quite difficult to pinpoint the provenance of 4QInstruction. Searching for a background "one frequent move is to compare 4QInstruction with Ben Sira and to situate it within the same timeframe, in the early part of the second century B. Both try to infuse a love for learning in their students.

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A common application of the Genesis creation stories is found in both. The commonalities between them can indeed help us to "identify important developments in the Second Temple wisdom tradition. No specific context is provided in the text of 4QInstruction. When it refers to a social context, it is so general that it can fit any context. There was a diversity of wisdom opinions during the period of the Second Temple BCE CE and texts do not necessarily have to come from the same time. As far as vocabulary is concerned, 4QInstruction has anyway more in common with other Dead Sea Scrolls than with Sira and Biblical literature.

The most obvious difference pertains to apocalyptic literature. The traditional assumptions of wisdom literature are now recontextualised in 4QInstruction "in light of the heavenly and temporal realities in a manner familiar to us from apocalyptic literature. Sira "vehemently dismisses this possibility. It "does not incorporate apocalyptic eschatology in his traditional advice. In Sirach the priestly authorities are needed to pursue a scribal profession. Ben Sira's students belong to the retainer class. They are trained to become officials in the community in the capacity of judges, councilors and scholars.

Their socio-economic background is totally different, even including women. The addressees of 4QInstruction are rather those who have to struggle with the problem of poverty. Reference to wealth is never found in 4QInstruction. Unlike Sirach that deals with wealth, this work concentrates much more on poverty. While Sirach emphasises the importance to his students of caring for the poor, the addressees in 4QInstruction are the poor themselves. One of the "consistent emphases of 4QInstruction" is on the poverty of the learner.

It seems to be "something of a preoccupation of 4Qinstruction. It usually denotes the low status of the learner. The question for Adams is whether one should "take the frequent poverty language in the text literally or figuratively. The idea of poverty has both a literal as well as a metaphorical meaning in 4QInstruction. The addressees experienced real poverty in several forms.

However, what 4QInstruction does, is to present a theological construct to help the addressees to cope with their circumstances. Hoppe is of opinion that this term in 4QInstruction deals with historical, political and economic matters, but also serves as "metaphor for another reality. This is presented in 4QInstruction in the form of a Motivkonstellation construct of motifs of four interlinked terms: poverty, elected status, inheritance and raz nihyeh the secret to be. The concept of poverty in 4QInstruction operates within a four-corner heuristic model.

This model can mainly be found in 4Q 2 III lines It is found thirty-five times in the extant manuscripts of 4QInstruction. This concept forms the "core of 4QInstruction" and is "the main tool" for obtaining wisdom. The mebin learner is urged to constantly study this mystery.

This mystery teaches him the way God has ordered the world.

The learner is assured that God gave him glory and part in his plans. He will inherit eternal life. Although being poor at the moment, this rich inheritance is promised to him in the life hereafter. The mebin learner is assured that he also has an elect status. God has set him with the nobles i. He shares the final allotment of the heavenly beings. Although suffering some form of poverty at the moment, he will share in eternal glory. He can view himself as "chosen and therefore privy to the deeper understanding of things," as revealed in this raz nihyeh he studies.

The learner inherited something that "is superior to monetary wealth. It is not possible to identify the exact provenance of 4QInstruction. It recalls older teachings of wisdom and shares a "pedagogical ethos" with Sirach. However, it differs radically with Sirach because of its apocalyptic worldview. While Sirach addresses future scribes of the retainer class, 4QInstruction communicates with those in the margin. The mebin learner is reminded again and again that he is poor.

Sirach's pupils are to take care of those in destitution, the learners in 4QInstruction are literally the poor themselves. But the concept of poor has an additional metaphorical and ideological meaning in 4QInstruc-tion. The concept of poverty is presented in a Motivkonstellation constellation of motifs , a theological construct which proclaims that the poor are God's elected, although being poor at the moment.

They have an eternal inheritance with the angels and already enjoy heavenly status, being part of God's raz nihyeh the secret to be design. Proverbs, Sirach and 4QInstruction have a "family resemblance" internally as well as externally. They present a dynamic continuity as well as a discontinuity in wisdom thinking.

(PDF) Debating Wisdom: The Role of Voice in Ecclesiastes | Kyle Greenwood -

Each gave its own nuances to the concept of poverty. As a variegated collection of sayings Proverbs shows an ambivalent attitude towards the poor. In a constellation of different sapiential perspectives the elite warn the learner to look after the poor. The "poor" mostly has a literal sense, but also in some cases a figurative meaning. Ben Sira later on took up this term literally, while 4QInstruction developed it into a theological scheme.

Standing in a middle position between the common people and the elite, Ben Sira urged his learners to take care for the poor. Resemblance exists in different areas between Proverbs and Sirach.


However, Sirach sets the material acquired from Proverbs and other literature from the ANE in the setting of a sapiential world of its own making. It is not really possible at this stage of research to identify its real provenance. It shares the didactic ethics of Proverbs and Sirach, but differs radically from them with its apocalyptic worldview. In a Motivkonstellation constellation of motifs it presents a theological construct of four interrelated terms poor, elected, inheritance, and the secret-to-be.

Poverty becomes the distinguishing mark here of the mebin assuring him or her of an eternal inheritance, privileged status and glory. Adams, Samuel L. Leiden: Brill, Edited by Daniel C. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, Beentjes, Pancratius C. Collected Essays on the Book of Ben Sira. Beentjes, Peeters: Leuven, Botha, Phil J. Burns, Joshua Ezra. Buttigieg, Charles. Clifford, Richard J. Edited by Katherine Doob Sakenfeld. Nashville: Abingdon Press, Collins, John J. Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, Doi: Corley, Jeremy.

Di Lella, O. Edited by Jeremy Corley and Vincent Skemp.

CBQMS Elgvin, Torleif. Fox, Michael V. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, Freyne, Sean.

Cosmology and Character

Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, Goff, Matthew J. VTSup Leiden: Koninklijke Brill, WLAW 2. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, Hoppe, Leslie J. Nashville: Abingdon, Kampen, John. Wisdom Literature.