Turning Proverbs towards Torah: an Analysis of 4Q525


In Turning Proverbs towards Torah, Elisa Uusimäki offers the first monograph on the early Jewish wisdom text 4Q525 from Qumran. Following the reconstruction of the fragmentary manuscript, Uusimäki analyses the text with a focus on the reception and renewal of the Proverbs tradition and the ways in which 4Q525 illustrates aspects of Jewish pedagogy in the late Second Temple period. She argues that the author was inspired by Proverbs 1-9 but sought to demonstrate that true wisdom is found in the concept of torah. He also weaved dualistic elements and eschatological ideas into the wisdom frame. The author's intention, Uusimäki argues, is to form the audience spiritually, encouraging it to trust in divine protection and blessings that are bestowed upon the pious.

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Elisa Uusimäki, Ph.D. in Theology (December 2013), University of Helsinki, is an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral fellow. Her research focuses on early Jewish wisdom literature, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Proverbs tradition, the concepts of wisdom and torah, and spiritual formation.


1 Scroll, Text, Arrangement
1 Material Reconstruction of 4Q525 23
1.1 Methodological Introduction
1.2 Observations on the Material Aspects
1.3 The Arrangement of Fragments
2 Hebrew Text and English Translation
2.1 Remarks on Palaeography and Orthography
2.2 Column-by-Column Presentation
3 Structural Analysis
3.1 Outline
4 Conclusions

2 Influence of Scripture on 4Q525
1 Concepts and Phenomena
1.1 Remarks on Presuppositions
1.2 Theoretical Framework
1.3 Scriptural Interpretation
1.4 Definition of Terminology
1.5 Tables of Parallels
2 Primary Allusion to Proverbs 1–9
2.1 Influence of Proverbs on 4Q525
2.2 Proverbs as a Source of Inspiration
2.3 Use of Proverbs and Rewriting Processes
3 Secondary Allusions to Psalm 91 and Deuteronomy 32
3.1 Introduction to the Source Texts
3.1.1 Song of Moses
3.1.2 Poem of Protection
3.2 Shared Imagery and Ideas
3.3 Interpretation of the Parallels
4 Major Echoes of Psalms
4.1 Influence of Entrance Liturgy Psalms
4.2 Influence of Psalms with Wisdom Elements 144
5 Echoes of Deuteronomy 33 and Ben Sira
6 Conclusions

3 Genre, Settings, Functions
1 Genre: Wisdom Built on Proverbs
1.1 Literary Context of 4Q525
1.2 Genre of 4Q525 in Relation to Proverbs 1–9
2 The Educational Settings of 4Q525
2.1 Dates of Manuscript and Composition
2.2 4Q525 and the Sectarian Movement
2.3 Pedagogical Use of 4Q525
3 Social Function: Identity Formation
3.1 Creating Groups and the Others
3.2 Blessing and Cursing in 4Q525 and its Context
3.3 Macarisms, Curses, and Social Reality
4 Concluding Remarks

4 4Q525 and Jewish Pedagogy in Hellenistic Judaea
1 Curriculum of Wisdom Teaching
2 The Proverbs Tradition in the Late Second Temple Period
2.1 4Q525 and the Development of the Tradition
2.2 Wisdom of Proverbs in the Dead Sea Scrolls
2.3 Role of Proverbs in Wisdom Teaching
2.4 Concluding Remarks
3 Wisdom and Torah Discourse
3.1 Merging of Torah into Wisdom
3.2 Torah Discourse of 4Q525
3.3 Hebrew Language and an Expanding Torah
3.4 Concluding Remarks
4 Relevance of 4Q525 for the Sectarian Movement
5 Conclusions

Index of Modern Authors
Index of Ancient Sources
Appendix: Reconstructed Scroll
All interested in wisdom texts (esp. the Proverbs tradition), Jewish pedagogy in the second temple era, Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient scriptural interpretation, identity construction in early Judaism, and material reconstruction.
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