This volume considers a major shift among Jewish sages during the Second Temple period, as certain authors moved from an earthly focus to a belief in individual immortality. Egyptian instructions and the book of Proverbs are examined for necessary background. The colorful responses of Qoheleth and Ben Sira to an emergent belief in the afterlife are also discussed. 4QInstruction, the largest Wisdom text from the Dead Sea Scrolls corpus, demonstrates this shift to an eschatological understanding. This book considers the diverse reasons for the changes that one finds in 4QInstruction, especially the issue of social context. It will prove useful to those interested in Wisdom literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls, apocalypticism, and the development of beliefs in the afterlife.
Roland Boer’s work on the sacred economy of ancient Israel will become a standard reference volume for years to come. Boer reframes our understanding of Israel’s economy around Marx’s notion of régulation, the distinction between allocative and extractive economies, and patterns of subsistence survival at the village level. While this response celebrates Boer’s work, it suggests that more attention be given to the negative aspects of extraction economies, in particular to subsistence survival, and to the role of women and children in this economy. It also notes that Boer’s description of wisdom literature as reflecting the voices of the ruling elite in their attempt to control the servant class might be balanced by more attention to the wisdom literature where God becomes an advocate for the poor.