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  • Author or Editor: Elisa Uusimäki x
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While the Hebrew word משכיל has multiple meanings, many of the Dead Sea Scrolls suggest that it designates a specific sage and wisdom teacher. This is indicated by diverse rule, wisdom, and liturgical texts that associate the figure with various tasks and portray him as a first-person speaker. Previous studies include insightful analyses of the Maskil as a leader in the sectarian movement. This paper aims at providing a complementary approach and exploring the wider intellectual context of this character beyond those Jews who produced, used, and collected the Qumran corpus. The following questions will be asked: How is the Maskil’s role imagined in the texts from Qumran? How does the figure embody wisdom, i. e., what kinds of exercises does he undertake to attain, perform, and/or retain his wisdom? What does his portrayal look like in comparison with other ancient data on sages? Following a survey of the Qumran corpus, the Maskil accounts are compared with descriptions of Jewish sages in selected sources that originate from the Hellenistic and early Roman era, including Qoheleth, Ben Sira, Wisdom of Solomon, and Philo of Alexandria’s texts. Finally, the evidence for the Maskil is contextualized in relation to the Greek phenomenon of philosophy, which involved the performance of spiritual exercises in the Graeco-Roman period. It will be argued that the Maskil materials are part of the ancient Mediterranean discussion on the search for wisdom and the ideal sage to be emulated.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
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Abstract

This article explores the emergence of the sage as an exemplar in Greek and Jewish antiquity. Greek philosophical writings and Jewish literary accounts are analysed, the latter including texts written in both Hebrew and Greek. The Greek and Jewish sources are compared in order to highlight (dis)similarities between them. It will be argued that the conception of the sage as an idealized figure and object of emulation originates from the classical Greek world, but it becomes integrated into the Jewish discourse on wisdom and good life in the later Hellenistic period. In spite of this shared element, the portrayals of the sage vary regarding the amount of concreteness and the discursive strategies in which his exemplarity is constructed.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
In: Jeremiah’s Scriptures
In: Tracing Sapiential Traditions in Ancient Judaism
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Abstract

This article analyses the intersection between the transmission of biblical tradition and the display of exemplarity in the Testament of Qahat (4Q542). How are virtues—i.e., qualities regarded as good and thus desirable—discussed in this Aramaic text found at Qumran? It is argued that the author embeds his priestly perspective in an expansion of biblical narrative and posits seven items of immaterial inheritance as virtues to be pursued and performed, including truth, justice, honesty, perfection, purity, holiness, and priesthood. He highlights the intellectual and moral dimensions of virtuous living, as well as the significance of aspirational attitude and divine-human relations in a good life. 4Q542 invites scholars to read Jewish sources as evidence of ancient Mediterranean virtue discourses. In the context of biblical studies, the writing offers a priestly perspective on the continuing conversation on ethical traditions in Jewish antiquity.

In: Biblical Interpretation
In: Turning Proverbs towards Torah: an Analysis of 4Q525
In: Turning Proverbs towards Torah: an Analysis of 4Q525
In: Turning Proverbs towards Torah: an Analysis of 4Q525