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Title: Metaphorical Poverty in 'Musar leMevin'
Author(s):Benjamin G. Wold
Affiliation:Durham University, UK
Year: 2007Volume: 58Issue: 1140-153 pp.
Keywords:Post-biblical literature, Qumran, Dead Sea Scrolls, Wisdom literature, apocalypticism, 4QInstruction, metaphor, poverty
Abstract:This essay argues that the language of poverty should be understood on some occasions in Musar leMevin (4QInstruction)metaphorically in relation to angelic beings. Given how fragmentary the document is and how enigmatic its language, prudent caution needs to be exercised before concluding firmly on previous interpretive suggestions. Rather than conceiving of poverty in Musar leMevin as strictly reflecting a ‘this-worldly’ lacking, and thus the Sitz im Leben of the community behind the document, it may describe an aspect of human nature and, therefore, relate to ‘other-worldly’ imagery. It is understood that the addressee lacks wisdom, which he is urged to seek and obtain. Accordingly this deficiency of understanding is a part of human nature and, just as the one addressed is repeatedly urged to seek wisdom, so too is he reminded: ‘you are poor’. Furthermore, Musar leMevin is not ‘Essene’, and one should not presuppose that its so-called social situations reflect on the Qumran community.
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