Chapter 14 Introduction to the Material Study of Instruction (Musar LaMevin)

In: Material and Digital Reconstruction of Fragmentary Dead Sea Scrolls
Jonathan Ben-Dov
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Eshbal Ratzon
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The wisdom composition called here Instruction is a Second Temple Jewish work, unknown until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This composition is the main representative of the genre of wisdom literature at Qumran, a genre which sparked significant interest when discovered and continues to draw much scholarly attention. This document is important for a variety of topics, among which one may count: relation to traditional wisdom literature, accommodation of apocalyptic ideas into the wisdom genre, unique vocabulary and style, relation to other literature from Qumran, the authority of scripture within the composition, relation to sectarian and other halakhah, and the role of the composition as a forerunner to early Christian literature.1 Since Instruction is represented in highly fragmentary copies, its publication was heavily delayed, with a first official publication only appearing in 1999, after many efforts were invested in its reconstruction.2 The content of Instruction has sparked much scholarly attention, but will not be discussed in the present introduction. This is an introduction to the material study of the copies of Instruction, which lays the ground for the material innovations suggested below.

The composition is named differently in various publications. The Preliminary Concordance reflects the nomenclature of the first editorial team, who called this work “Sapiential Work A.” Strugnell and Harrington, in the title of the DJD volume mention the name 4QInstruction,3 but mostly use a newly suggested Hebrew name: מוסר למבין. Both names are widely used today. Menahem Kister suggested a different Hebrew name: חוכמת רז נהיה, which was later adopted by Qimron as well as in the online database of the Historical Dictionary Project by the Academy of Hebrew Language (Maagarim).4 In the present book we shall use the designation Instruction in italics. Note that the common designation 4QInstruction is a misnomer, since fragments of the work are also known from cave 1 (1Q26).

Scholars debate the date and provenance of Instruction, whether it is a sapiential and apocalyptic composition predating the yaḥad, or rather part and parcel of the literary heritage of the yaḥad, together with such compositions as the Hodayot or the Serekh. The former position usually entails assuming an early date of composition, in the second or third century BCE, while the latter position conceives Instruction as a sectarian composition, authored together with other such literature in the late second century BCE or even later. This latter opinion dovetails with the late date of the extant copies, which are all written in late Hasmonean or early Herodian scripts, but the date of the copies does not provide proof for authorship.5 The former opinion was quite popular in the early stages of research and is retained by many, while the latter opinion, held primarily by Israeli scholars, now seems to have gained wider support.6

The intellectual background of Instruction has been a matter of debate and has contributed to scholarly ideas about its composition. Scholars disagree about the relation between Instruction and other early Jewish literature, such as Ben Sira and various parts of 1 Enoch.7 Jewish Hellenistic Literature is also an important possible contemporary to examine for potential relationships.8 Fruitful discussion continues also with regard to the relation between Instruction and the “Treatise of the Two Spirits,” which constitutes a central part of the Serekh tradition.9 Stressing the point of view of form criticism, Elgvin highlighted that Instruction attests to both pragmatic wisdom sayings and eschatological discourses; he therefore posited a redactional process, in which the eschatological content was added as a second layer on an earlier wisdom composition.10 None of these debates will concern us in the present book however, where the emphasis is on the reading and material reconstruction of the copies of Instruction.

Instruction belongs to the group of Qumran compositions whose text transmission remained relatively stable. In this composition, the long overlaps preserved between different copies attest to meager textual changes, amounting to several letters or one word at maximum.11 We have found one omission of an entire line, which resulted from textual mishap rather than editorial recension.12 Torleif Elgvin and Armin Lange postulated that Instruction appears in two recensions, the latter one being a Qumranic product that added the prologue in 4Q417 1; this view did not receive wide support, however.13 Since we do know of several examples of textual stability but very few or even no example of textual fluidity, nearly all previous scholars of Instruction work with the assumption that the copies attest to a similar or nearly identical text.14 While we pay due attention to the treatment of each copy as an artifact, as the reader will discern later in this monograph, the copies will also function as text-witnesses to a literary work.15 This is an important insight for the reconstruction not only on the textual aspect but also on the material aspect, as lacunae are filled and fragments joined based on small-scale textual parallels.

1 Copies, Editions, and Reconstructions of Instruction

The composition we call Instruction is recorded in eight different copies, seven of them from cave 4 and one from cave 1: 1Q26, 4Q415, 4Q416, 4Q417, 4Q418, 4Q418a, 4Q418*, 4Q423. Although this book will concentrate on the copy 4QInstructione (4Q418a), a few words on all other copies are in order, since we shall frequently refer to them. The manuscript 4Q418 will be discussed last, with the scrolls that were separated from it through the history of research.

The present survey contains several fragments found or identified as belonging to copies of Instruction after the publication of DJD XXXIV. Tigchelaar identified a fragment of 4Q416 among the unidentified fragments of DJD XXXIII.16 Eshbal Ratzon located additional glued fragments under fragment 4Q418a 22, as described in chapters 15–16. Puech and Steudel demonstrated that the fragment dubbed XQ7, which had been donated to the shrine of the Book, belongs to 4Q418.17 Two fragments that appeared in the antiquities market after 2002 were claimed to be part of Instruction, but are now proven to be fakes.18

1Q26 comprises five fragments, published in DJD I under the title “une apocryphe.” It was later re-identified as part of Instruction and republished in DJD XXXIV. The fragments of this scroll are kept in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Paris. High resolution images are available through the InscriptiFact website.

The copy 4Q415 is written on the hair side of a skin, whose flesh side contains the liturgical text 4Q414. There are altogether 38 fragments of this manuscript: 32 are designated in DJD XXXIV, while six more fragments carry only an IAA record number.

4Q416 preserves 23 fragments,19 two of them of special importance. Fragment 1 preserves an especially wide right margin, which is taken as a sign that its contents stood at the beginning of the entire composition. Fragment 2, itself consisting of many pieces of skin joined together by the editors, is especially large, representing four consecutive columns of text. This fragment serves as the anchor for reconstructing the original order of the composition and will be referred to often in chapter 16.

The manuscript 4Q417 comprises 29 fragments. The two largest, fragments 1 and 2, contain two columns each, with fragment 1 preserving text from the beginning of the scroll, while fragment 2 preserves overlapping text to fragment 4Q416 2 i–ii.

4Q423 comprises 24 fragments, which are rather small but important due to their parallels with other copies. These parallels include 1Q26 (establishing that manuscript as a copy of Instruction), 4Q418a frag. 3 (discussed in detail in chapter 15), and various fragments of 4Q418.

4Q418 comprises over 300 numbered fragments, of small and medium size, and thus constitutes the main building block for the text of Instruction. The number is not conclusive, however, because work on this scroll showed that not all fragments assigned to it belong to the same manuscript. As we delineate that some of the fragments have been assigned elsewhere, it is important to note that this work is not yet over, and that other fragments now called 4Q418 could still be assigned to 4Q418*. Since the paleography of 4Q418, 4Q418a, and 4Q418* is similar, this task is all the more tricky. The present book, however, will primarily treat the fragments that have already been assigned to 4Q418a.

Some fragments were separated from 4Q418 and named accordingly 4Q418b, 4Q418c, and 4Q418*. 4Q418b comprises two fragments (olim 4Q418 112 and 116) that the editors of DJD XXXIV separated from 4Q418 based mainly on their contents, with a quote or maybe paraphrase of Psalm 107.20 4Q418c (olim 4Q418 161) was declared a separate scroll due to several material traits.21 Neither of these two scrolls seems conclusively separate and may well be proven part of 4Q418.

The manuscript called 4Q418* is a different story altogether. Its existence was established by Tigchelaar after initial indications by Strugnell and Harrington and by Elgvin. The distinction is based on the conviction that the fragments 4Q418 1 and 2 are materially different from the rest of 4Q418, and that they overlap some text from 4Q418.22 Tigchelaar has rejected the earlier suggestion by Strugnell and Harrington that these fragments stemmed from a separate sheet intended to replace the opening sheet of 4Q418. This find was corroborated by Qimron.23

The manuscript 4Q418a is the subject of this book and will be discussed separately below.

The editio princeps of Instruction is the DJD XXXIV volume published by Strugnell and Harrington with a contribution by Elgvin in the form of an edition of 4Q423. The history of discovery of this composition is briefly described by Strugnell in DJD, but Tigchelaar has subsequently modified this hindsight account by tracking the early records of the various scrolls and fragments in the PAM images and the Preliminary Concordance.24 Pertinent points from DJD and Tigchelaar’s account will be summarized here to introduce our renewed discussion.

The cave 4 copies comprise several hundred fragments, the great majority of them brought to the PAM by the Bedouins, who reported them as stemming from cave 4. Not all of them were proven beyond doubt to belong to cave 4; such a proof is provided for some of the copies, fragments of which were found in the archeological excavations of cave 4 after the Bedouins had left. John Strugnell declared that “fragments of each of the larger manuscripts (416, 417, 418) were also found among the fragments deriving from the museum’s own excavations.”25 This statement, however, does not agree with the evidence of the PAM images taken at the museum immediately after the excavations. This photographic series consists of PAM images 40.962–40.985 and is commonly called “series E” (see chapter 1). According to the finds of Eibert Tigchelaar, who studied these PAM images and recorded their content, the copies of Instruction discovered in cave 4 contain the following: 4Q418 frags. 28, 52, 75, 78, 126, 163, 164, 222, 224, 288, 300; 4Q418a frag. 23 (which is not part of 4Q418a, as claimed in chapter 15), 4Q418c (see above); and 4Q423 frags. 7, 9, 10, 20. Therefore, we cannot be sure about the exact provenance of those cave 4 copies that are not represented in the list above, but this situation pertains equally to the great majority of Qumran scrolls. Specifically, The larger fragments – 4Q416 2, 4Q417 1 and 2, 4Q418 81 – were purchased (at least the former but probably also the others) from Kando and gradually brought to the scrollery later.26

The great majority of small fragments of the various copies reached the scrollery in 1954, and were initially sorted by Milik, Cross, and Allegro until responsibility was handed over to John Strugnell in September 1954.27 The Cave 1 fragment 1Q26 was published in DJD I in 1955 with the generic title ‘une apocryphe,’ but by the time the volume appeared the editors had already acknowledged its belonging to the Sapiential Work, as it was called then.28

The main copies were defined and transcribed in the 1950s: the opistograph copy 4Q415, as well as 4Q416, 4Q417, 4Q418, and the fragments of 1Q26. Since the latter was identified by means of its parallel with 4Q423, it stands to reason that 4Q423 was also acknowledged as a copy of Instruction; however, in the Preliminary Concordance it is not registered as a copy of the work, nor do the parallels contained in it appear in it.29 In fact, it is fair to say that 4Q423 was firmly identified as a copy of Instruction and treated as such only in the 1990s. In addition, Strugnell has doubted some of the fragments assigned to the multi-fragment scroll 4Q418, such as the fragments collected in PAM 43.687. Readings of these fragments were not contained in the PC under 4Q418. A finite decision on the separate copies contained under the siglum in 4Q418 only arrived in the 1990s.

In the early 1990s Strugnell and Harrington co-edited the sapiential work, while other younger scholars began working on it independently after several decades in which relatively little was achieved. One of these scholars, Torleif Elgvin, reached important insights about the material configuration of the individual copies and of the composition in general.30 At the same time with Strugnell and Harrington he formally interpreted 4Q423 as a copy of the work and made use of its points of overlap with other copies. He also established that the fragments on PAM 43.687 are rather part of a different, additional copy, rather than of 4Q418.31 Unfortunately, he designated this copy 4Q418b, which can cause confusion for future work. It is now known as 4Q418a. Elgvin suggested material reconstructions for the individual copies of the work, leading towards a tentative outlook of its literary structure. The efforts in the 1990s culminated in the magnum opus by Strugnell and Harrington in 1999 (DJD XXXIV), comprising an edition of the various copies with detailed notes and comments. This work still serves as the basis for all study of Instruction until today. It clearly acknowledges 4Q418a as a distinct copy, and in addition defines several stray fragments as different copies: 4Q418 112 and 116 (olim) are now called 4Q418b, and 4Q418 161 (olim) is now called 4Q418c.32 Strugnell and Harrington considered 4Q418 frags. 1 and 2, which share some parallels with other fragments of 4Q418, to be remnants of a repair sheet or a patch containing the beginning of the composition.33

Annette Steudel and Birgit Lucassen produced a material reconstruction of several of the copies of Instruction, including 4Q418a (although this copy was discussed only in outline), but their work, sporadically mentioned through DJD XXXIV, was never published, and is no longer endorsed by Steudel.34

Material work on the copies of Instruction culminated in 2001 with the publication of a book by Eibert Tigchelaar, who reconsidered all previous information, analyzed it in a systematic way, and provided many new finds.35 Among his numerous contributions, he clarified the configurations of fragments and readings at the beginning of the composition, and settled some of the disputes around stray fragments on the fringes of 4Q418. Three copies are now acknowledged: the multi-fragment 4Q418; the wadded scroll 4Q418a; and the scroll 4Q418*, known from 2–3 fragments only, which preserves mainly the beginning of the composition (olim 4Q418 frags. 1, 2, 2b).36 Most importantly for the present volume, Tigchelaar has thoroughly studied the wads of 4Q418a. He was the first to suggest the order of the wads, an order which we accept, corroborate, and expand.

In 2013 Qimron published an edition of Instruction as part of his comprehensive DSS edition.37 His work was achieved in collaboration with Chanan Ariel and Alexey Yuditsky. Qimron generally endorsed Tigchelaar’s work, applying his suggested joins and locations in a full-scale edition, while adding many new and improved readings. In Qimron’s edition, Ariel and Yuditsky assigned another fragment (4Q418 33) to 4Q418*.38 Interestingly, this fragment does not belong in the beginning of the composition like the previously acknowledged fragments of 4Q418*. Qimron later produced an improved edition of the entire DSS Hebrew corpus, with many changes particularly in Instruction, some of them based on the work in the present book.39

As part of the Haifa team of the project Scripta Qumranica Electronica (later at Tel Aviv University), we began working on the copies of Instruction in 2016, using the material and digital reconstruction methods described in this book. The project aims to produce a full-scale digital canvas for each of the copies, as well as to make full use of the available parallel texts. Many new joins and rearrangements have been found during this work. The results for 4Q418a are described in chapters 15 and 16 of this volume. We have published several articles on 4Q415 and 4Q418, and many other material reconstructions will be contained in a future edition of Instruction as well as in digital form in the SQE platform.40

After building on the achievements of earlier editors, the problem remaining in the reconstruction of Instruction is that an absolute sequential order of most of the textual passages is lacking. Scholarly discussions of Instruction revolve around discrete sections of it,41 but no anchor has yet been suggested for the order of these sections, despite the great achievements of previous editors. Tigchelaar contributed greatly towards achieving this goal by means of establishing the opening section of the composition and the order of the wads in 4Q418a. Based on his work, Qimron divided the text into two “chapters”: the prologue, which he calls “Divine Mighty Acts and Providence,” and a chapter that he calls “Interpersonal Matters.” Many other fragments remain without an assigned spot in this suggested sequence, however. Within the chapters he orders the textual pericopae of Instruction according to considerations of material and content: many of these are commendable but others may be disputed.42

With the rules of material philology in mind, and with the new LLDSSDL images and the use of digital tools, thorough work in this regard may help establishing a more solid order for the textual passages of Instruction. For the purposes of this study, which concentrates on material reconstruction rather than on improving readings, we ignore minor disagreements and accept Qimron’s readings of all scrolls except for 4Q418a. For the latter we offer new and updated readings below. Fragments not included in Qimron’s edition will be quoted according to Tigchelaar’s readings.

2 Material Information on 4Q418a

A material reconstruction of 4Q418a was achieved by Tigchelaar and serves as the basis of the present study. We suggest an improvement to his method, however, by using graphic visualizations of the individual columns and of the entire scroll. The result of the reconstruction will not only take the shape of a digital canvas, but will also convey the full context of these fragments in the text surrounding them. This work adds a new dimension to the reconstruction and underscores the inherent mechanism of trial-and-error in it. Since we treat the scroll 4Q418a – and equally so all other copies of Instruction – as artifacts, the method involves redesigning the text of Instruction in the unique layout of this particular scroll. The measurements induced by the Stegemann method can now be tested in a close-to-reality simulation of the actual artifact.

The fragments of 4Q418a are presently held by the IAA on plate number 511. Most of them were found wadded in five multilayered piles. They were severely damaged in the course of separating the wads, which took place in 1955–1956, with many of them crumbling into tiny pieces. The fragments were quite small even in their original state prior to separation, with their size ranging between 5 mm × 3 mm (for frag. 5a) to 30.5 mm × 25.5 mm (frag. 22). None of the fragments contains more than five lines with a dozen (sometimes broken) words. The skin is very dark, and the ink is illegible without IR imaging. According to Tigchelaar,43 the skin of most fragments is rather thin, while Strugnell and Harrington claim that the single layered fragments 20–25 are thicker than those that were preserved in wads.44 Our observations in the IAA laboratory confirm that most fragments of 4Q418a are thinner than those of 4Q418, and as thin as the fragments of 4Q415. In addition, fragments 20 and 21 do not differ in thickness from the rest of the fragments of this copy. We accept Tigchelaar’s suggestion that fragments 23–25 are not part of 4Q418a.45 Fragment 22 is therefore the only piece of 4Q418a that is thicker than the rest. The reason for this change is that it is in fact a fifth wad, rather than a single layer as previously thought (see chapters 15–16).

After the “discovery” of this scroll, the editors of DJD XXXIV stated “As for the poorly preserved and often illegible fragments of 4Q418a […] any certain identification, however, would have to wait for better photographs and further study.”46 Having recorded the layers in each wad of this scroll, Strugnell and Harrington left most of the material reconstruction to future scholars.47 A reconstruction of the order of the fragments of 4Q418a was finally carried out by Tigchelaar, and subsequently verified and expanded in the present volume, with many new details and improved readings presented in chapters 15 and 16.

The fragments of 4Q418a that are the focus of this book are very small, but the fact that they were preserved in five wads allows for deduction of their original order within the scroll. Some of the 4Q418a fragments have parallel text in other copies of Instruction. This manuscript is thus the key to unlocking the main problem that remains for Instruction: determining its order and internal structure. Based on these parallels we can suggest a location for the fragments of the other copies, and vice versa: the information from other copies informs us about the order of the 4Q418a wads. Despite its fragmentary condition, 4Q418a is therefore a very important – if not the most important – copy for reconstructing the sequence of this immense work, Instruction.

Much of the information contained in the meager fragments of 4Q418a can only be made available when accessed with new tools and established with new methodological foundations. The ultimate aim is to visualize the entire scroll and calculate its size and the amount of text missing, using textual and material information culled from other copies. The tools and methods used in our reconstruction will not only yield improved readings based on the LLDSSDL images but will also point out a few previously unknown fragments which remained attached to some of the already documented fragments. These fragments affect the general reconstruction of the scroll and its estimated size.

In the following chapters the reader will find an improved reading of the fragments of 4Q418a (chapter 15), and a detailed material reconstruction of this scroll, which will also provide an anchor for the textual sequence of the entire composition (chapter 16). Both chapters operate according to the method delineated in part 1 of this book and have achieved much progress thanks to it.


None of these topics stand at the focus of the present book, which is primarily concerned with material aspects and a new textual edition. References will therefore be limited here. For Qumran wisdom in general see Matthew Goff, Discerning Wisdom: The Sapiential Literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls, VTSup 116 (Leiden: Brill, 2007); Menahemem Kister, “Wisdom Literature at Qumran,” [Hebrew] in The Qumran Scrolls and Their World, ed. Menahem Kister (Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi, 2009), 1.299–319. A convenient commentary on the major sections of Instruction with references to earlier bibliography is Matthew Goff, 4QInstruction, Wisdom Literature from the Ancient World 2 (Atlanta: SBL, 2013). For other studies on Instruction see Armin Lange, Weisheit und Prädestination. Weisheitliche Ordnung und Prädestination in den Textfunden von Qumran, STDJ 18 (Leiden: Brill, 1995); Matthew Goff, The Worldly and Heavenly Instruction of 4QInstruction, STDJ 50 (Leiden: Brill, 2003); Jean-Sébastian Rey, 4QInstruction: Sagesse et eschatology, STDJ 81 (Leiden: Brill, 2009); Benjamin Wold, Women, Men, and Angels: The Qumran Wisdom Document Musar leMevin and its Allusions to Genesis Creation Traditions (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005); Benjamin Wold, 4QInstruction: Divisions and Hierarchies, STDJ 123 (Leiden: Brill, 2018). See also the English translation by John Kampen, Wisdom Literature, Eerdmans Commentaries on the Dead Sea Scrolls (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011).


Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV.


As Torleif Elgvin kindly informs us, he has suggested this name, which was later accepted by the general editor Emanuel Tov and by the other authors of DJD XXXIV.


Kister, “Wisdom Literature,” 304; Qimron, The Dead Sea Scrolls, 2.144. The editors of the DSS in the Maagarim repository are Qimron together with Chanan Ariel and Alexey Yuditsky.


Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 21. The script of 4Q416, 418, and 418a is dated as “between late Hasmonean and early Herodian,” with slight variations inside this range (Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 76, 217, 476).


For Instruction as a pre-sectarian text embraced by the yaḥad see Lange, Weisheit und Prädestination; Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 36 (“between Proverbs and later books like Sirach and Qohelet”); Goff, Discerning Wisdom, 65 (“probably written in the second century BCE, but a third century dating is not impossible”); Rey, 4QInstruction, 333–36, considers it as contemporary with Ben Sira and preceding the redaction of the Serekh and the Hodayot, but originating from a similar milieu. In contrast, Kister, “Wisdom Literature,” stresses the proximity to the heritage of the yaḥad, especially with regard to S, H, and D, and concludes that Instruction shares the same environment as the above noted compositions. He carries this idea forward in Kister, “Qumran, Jubilees, and the Jewish Dimensions of 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1,” in The Religious Worldviews Reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 28–30 May, 2013, ed. Ruth A. Clements, Menahem Kister, and Michael Segal, STDJ 127 (Leiden: Brill, 2018), 103–39. A similar opinion is expressed by Devorah Dimant, “The Vocabulary of the Qumran Sectarian Texts,” in History, Ideology and Bible Interpretation in the Dead Sea Scrolls, FAT 90 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014), 57–100, here 79–81. Bilhah Nitzan, “Key Terms in 4QInstruction: Implications for Its Ideological Unity,” [Hebrew] Meghillot 3 (2005): 101–24, here 120–21, is even more explicit about its sectarian authorship, the differences from sectarian literature stemming in her opinion from mere generic considerations. More recently, Arjan Bakker (“The Figure of the Sage in Musar le-Mevin and Serekh ha-Yahad” [PhD diss., KU Leuven, 2015]) challenged the view of Instruction as a pre-sectarian text and reassessed its connection with the Serekh. He was followed by Meike Christian, “The Literary Development of the ‘Treatise of the Two Spirits’ as Dependent on Instruction and the Hodayot,” in Law, Literature, and Society in Legal Texts from Qumran: Papers from the Ninth Meeting of the IOQS, Leuven 2016, ed. Molly M. Zahn and Jutta Jokiranta, STDJ 128 (Leiden: Brill, 2019), 153–84. A similar conclusion was reached by Anna Shirav, “The Social Setting of 4QInstruction Reconsidered. Wisdom, Inheritance and Priesthood in 4Q418 frg. 81,” DSD 28 (2021): 1–28. The most recent discussion of Instruction in the sectarian context is George J. Brooke, “Esoteric Wisdom Texts from Qumran,” JSP 30.2 (2020): 101–14.


On Ben Sira see Rey, 4QInstruction; Benjamin Wright, Praise Israel for Wisdom and Instruction: Essays on Ben Sira and Wisdom, the Letter of Aristeas and the Septuagint, JSJSup 131 (Leiden: Brill, 2008); Samuel L. Adams, “Rethinking the Relationship Between ‘4QInstruction’ and ‘Ben Sira’,” RevQ 24 (2010): 555–83. On 1 Enoch see Torleif Elgvin, “Early Essene Eschatology: Judgment and Salvation according to Sapiential Work A,” in Current Research and Technological Developments on the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Donald W. Parry and Stephen D. Ricks, STDJ 20 (Leiden: Brill, 1996), 126–65; Loren T. Stuckenbruck, “4QInstruction and the Possible Influence of Early Enochic Traditions: An Evaluation,” in The Wisdom Texts from Qumran and the Development of Sapiential Thought, ed. Charlotte Hempel, Armin Lange, and Hermann Lichtenberger BETL 159 (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2002), 245–62; Tigchelaar, Increase Learning, 212–17; Goff, 4QInstruction, 226–27, presents a more moderate evaluation of the connection. For a connection with the later Enochic Book of Parables see Arjen Bakker, “The Praise of the Luminaries in the Similitudes of Enoch and its Parallels in the Qumran Scrolls,” [Hebrew] Meghillot 13 (2017): 171–84.


See, for instance, Matthew Goff, “Genesis 1–3 and Conceptions of Humankind in 4QInstruction, Philo and Paul,” in Early Christian Literature and Intertextuality, Vol. 2: Exegetical Studies, ed. Craig A. Evans and Daniel H. Zacharias, LNTS 392 (London: T&T Clark, 2009), 114–25; Matthew Goff, “Adam, The Angels and Eternal Life: Genesis 1–3 in the Wisdom of Solomon and 4QInstruction,” in Studies in the Book of Wisdom, ed. Geza G. Xeravits and Joszef Zsengellér, JSJSup 142 (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 1–21; Hindy Najman, “Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Period: Towards A Study of A Semantic Constellation,” in Is There Text in this Cave? Studies in Textuality of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Honor of George J. Brooke, ed. Ariel Feldman, Maria Cioată, and Charlotte Hempel, STDJ 119 (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 459–72.


See a summary of the various opinions and updated bibliography in Bakker, “The Figure of the Sage,” 1–16; Christian, “The Literary Development.”


Elgvin, “An Analysis of 4QInstruction”; Nitzan, “Key Terms,” opposes this claim.


Tigchelaar, Increase Learning, 64, mentions “instability of the text” of Instruction. This is relative however, as he refers to instability in terms of spelling and other minor variants, not of large textual differences.


The omission appears in 4Q418 10a line 6 (see Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 237 and chapter 15 in this book).


Elgvin, “An Analysis of 4QInstruction,” 54; Armin Lange, “Musar leMevin,” in Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture, ed. Louis H. Feldman, James L. Kugel, and Lawrence H. Schiffman (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2013), 3.2437. A material reconstruction of some of the copies, suggested by Annette Steudel and Birgit Lucassen, supported this view (see below), but has not been published. In the reconstruction suggested in this book we follow Qimron, The Dead Sea Scrolls, 2.147–49, who contained both 4Q416 1 and 4Q417 1 within the introduction of Instruction. The prolonged introduction fits with the material finds, as described in chapter 16 of this book.


With the exception of Armin Lange (see previous note). For the similarity between copies, compare, for example, 4Q416 2 i || 4Q417 2 i – ii || 4Q418 7–8 || 4Q418a 22; 4Q415 11 || 4Q418 167a+b || 4Q418a 13+15. Tigchelaar, Increase Learning, 147–54, surveys all the textual overlaps and variants in Instruction. There are cases where several words or even a short sentence is found in two separate copies, but they are not considered overlaps because the rest of the text around them does not correspond. In these cases, scholars attribute the similarities to the repetitive style of Instruction. By assuming repetitive style in every case of similar but not identical parallels, we may miss overlaps with greater textual fluidity, which may be seen as circular reasoning. However, since none of the above-mentioned cases were proven a parallel beyond doubt, we can still use textual stability as a working assumption.


See the methodological reflections by Søren Holst, “Fragments and Forefathers: An Experiment with the Reconstruction of 4QVisions of Amram,” in Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran: Essays from the Copenhagen Symposium, 14–15 August, 2017, ed. Mette Bundvad and Kasper Siegismund (Leiden: Brill, 2020), 137–52, here 139–41.


Tigchelaar, “Gleanings from the Plates,” 317–22, here 321–22.


Puech and Steudel, “Un Nouveau fragment.”


See Esther Eshel and Hannan Eshel, “A Preliminary Report on Seven New Fragments from Qumran,” [Hebrew] Meghillot 5–6 (2007): 271–78; Michael B. Johnson, “A Fragment of Instruction (Inv. MOTB.SCR.000123),” in [Retracted] Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection, ed. Emanuel Tov, Kipp Davis, and Robert Duke, PMB 1, ST (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 222–36; Art Fraud Insights, Museum of the Bible Dead Sea Scroll Collection: Scientific Research and Analysis: Final Report (November, 2019), 43–5 (


Twenty-two fragments were published in DJD XXXIV, while another one was found among the unclassified fragments recorded in DJD XXXIII; see Tigchelaar, “Gleanings from the Plates.”


Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 497.


Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 501.


Tigchelaar, Increase Learning, 60–63.


Qimron, The Dead Sea Scrolls, 2.146, 156.


Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, xiv–xv; Tigchelaar, Increase Learning, 5–17.


Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 4.


See Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, xiv, 73. For concrete dates see Tigchelaar, Increase Learning, 6.


See John Strugnell, “Le travail d’édition des fragments manuscrits de Qumrân,” RB 63 (1956): 64–66.


Tigchelaar, Increase Learning, 5.


Tigchelaar, Increase Learning, 10.


Elgvin, “An Analysis of 4QInstruction”; Elgvin, “The Reconstruction of Sapiential Work A.”


Strugnell has expressed some doubts about this distinction but left it unsettled; see Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, xiv.


The separation of these fragments was mainly based on their content, which seemed to Strugnell and Harrington to be atypical of Instruction. The material considerations adduced by them (Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 497, 501) are not compelling. In our work we consider them to be parts of 4Q418.


“Codicological Excursus,” Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 226–27.


Birgit Lucassen and Annette Steudel, “Aspekte einer vorläufigen materiellen Rekonstruktion von 4Q416–4Q418,” Handout in Forschungsseminar: Die Weisheitstexte aus Qumran, Tübingen, 22–24 Mai, 20–21 Juni 1998. See Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 19; Tigchelaar, Increase Learning, 17. We thank Prof. Steudel for kindly discussing this reconstruction with us in Göttingen.


Tigchelaar, Increase Learning. For the opening of the composition see further Tigchelaar, “Towards a Reconstruction of the Beginning of 4QInstruction (4Q416 Fragment 1 and Parallels),” in The Wisdom Texts from Qumran and the Development of Sapiential Thought, ed. Charlotte Hempel, Armin Lange, and Hermann Lichtenberger, BETL 159 (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2002), 99–126.


Tigchelaar, Increase Learning, 61–64.


Qimron, The Dead Sea Scrolls, 2.146–84.


Qimron, The Dead Sea Scrolls, 2.156.


The edition is offered to the public online: Elisha Qimron, The Qumran Texts: Composite Edition (Zenodo, 2020), doi: 10.5281/zenodo.3737950.


See Gayer, “A New Reconstruction”; Gayer, “New Readings”; Dayfani, “Material Reconstruction.”


This is best seen from the table of contents of the commentary by Goff, 4QInstruction.


Qimron numbers the lines of each chapter in a sequential manner, a method which may imply to the reader that the sequence is proven and secure. This is not the case, however, since there is no evidence that the respective fragments formed a continuous sequence. For example, in his chapter 2, the sequence of lines 1–86 is proven by the large fragment 4Q416 2, but the numbering of lines 87–135 (The Dead Sea Scrolls, 2.158–60) is less secure.


Tigchelaar, Increase Learning, 126.


Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 475. While Strugnell and Harrington later write that “the fragments (of 4Q418a) are generally thicker than the norm in those manuscripts (4Q415 and 4Q418),” it is unclear whether they refer to the single layered fragments or the multilayered. The identification of some of the single layered fragments as part of 4Q418a was rejected later by Tigchelaar (Increase Learning, 131, 139). In addition, in a private correspondence from August 2017, Tigchelaar confirmed that according to his observation all fragments except for frags. 1, 22, 24, and 25 are very thin. He suggests that the comment quoted here from DJD XXXIV is either mistaken or pertained to the measurement of exceptional fragments.


Tigchelaar (Increase Learning, 131, 139). The color of fragments 24 and 25 is lighter than the color of the rest of the fragments of 4Q418a, their skin is thicker, their shape is different, and there is no textual reason to assume that they belong in here. We agree with Tigchelaar (Increase Learning, 139) that there is no valid reason to identify fragment 23 as part of 4Q418a.


Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, xiv.


Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 475–96.

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