This paper evaluates the attitudes toward the contemporary Jerusalem priesthood and cult on evidence in the Visions of Amram. To the extent that this issue has been treated, scholars have generally argued that the Visions of Amram originated among groups that were hostile to the Aaronid priesthood. Such treatments, however, have left some of the most germane fragments unexamined, several of which deal directly with matters pertaining to the cult, Aaron, and his offspring (4Q547 5 1–3; 8 2–4; 9 5–7; 4Q545 4 16–19). My study incorporates these fragments into the larger discussion, and in so doing demonstrates that many of the views expressed in the secondary literature require revision. My analysis shows that, though the social location of the Visions of Amram is difficult to determine, we should not be too quick to dismiss the possibility that the writer was a supporter of the contemporary status quo in the temple, given the elevated status afforded to both Aaron and his eternal posterity throughout the text.
The “Four Empires” scheme appears in literature from around the ancient Near East, as well as in the biblical book of Daniel. Daniel’s scheme was adopted in subsequent Jewish literature as a basic division of world history. In addition, the book of Daniel appears to have had a prominent place in the Qumran library. Scholars have identified, or suggested, the existence of the “Four Empires” scheme in two texts found among the Qumran scrolls, the “New Jerusalem” text (4Q554), and, especially, in the so-called “Four Kingdoms”(!) text (4Q552–553). This paper will examine these texts, will argue that the “four empires” scheme is not attested in the Qumran scrolls (apart from Daniel), and will suggest alternative understandings of those two texts.
The short sapiential poem known as 4QWiles of the Wicked Woman (4Q184) describes the body of an unnamed female who ensnares the righteous into sin and ultimately death. This poetic description of a body has sometimes been compared to the Waṣf, a type of poem which provides a thick description of the body, listing and describing body parts in a movement descending from head to toe. In this essay, I explore the description of the woman’s body in 4Q184 in light of the genre of the Waṣf. By playing with the characteristic structure of the Waṣf, 4Q184 highlights certain aspects of the woman’s body in order to say something specific about her role and activities. In so doing, I uncover an image of the woman which is more erotic than commentators have previously allowed.