Education and Wisdom in the Dead Sea Scrolls in Light of their Background in Antiquity

Bilhah Nitzan, Tel-Aviv University

1. Introduction

The aim of the wisdom literature of Israel and of other nations of antiquity is mainly a didactic one:  namely, to instruct its readers how to direct their life honestly and wisely for their own benefit or the welfare of society, and to warn them against evil influences that may hurt their life. This purpose is apparent in Egyptian, Babylonian and other ancient sapiential texts,[1] including the biblical books of Proverbs and Qohelet (Ecclesiastes), the post-biblical books Sirach, Wisdom of Solomon, and the Book of Ahikar, and some Qumran texts. Although the ultimate purpose is quite similar to that of the legal literature, its approach is different in many respects from that of the law.  Its origin is generally not seen as Divine, but as human. It is the wisdom of sages, acquired by their own life experience or by learning from others. It does not command its readers, but rather instructs and advises them, mostly directly, by maxims of wisdom, or by lessons how to deduce good conclusions from human philosophy or national traditions. It is generally not religious in the sense of being concerned with those aspects of cult concerned with the relation between deities and human beings, but deals rather with everyday human relationships concerning mostly secular areas such as economy, family, friendship, relations with authorities, etc.  In these areas of life its instruction are mostly of an ethical nature.  In those cases in which certain instructions relate to cultic customs, or to ethics as a religious field, their purpose is nevertheless the welfare of human beings.[2]

In terms of genres and style, biblical and post-biblical wisdom literature are similar to those of other ancient nations, such as the Egyptians and the Babylonians.[3]  The cultural, political, and even religious differences between the nations are nevertheless apparent in their literature of wisdome.g. in terms of mentioning a deity, the Jewish sapiential literature is monotheistic, while that of other nations is polytheistic.[4]

As wisdom compositions were written at different times, their authors developed traditional subjects in variegated directions so as to express the outlook of societies of their own times for the education of their readers. Thus, the author of Qohelet criticized certain approaches of the authors of the traditional wisdom of Proverbs.[5]  Ben Sira, Qohelet and the Wisdom of Solomon referred to certain subjects in Proverbs, but from a new perspective, and also gave attention to some subjects that were familiar in their times, such as the Hellenistic approach to the sciences of wisdom being achieved by human intelligence as reflected in the book of Wisdom of Solomon (e.g . 7: 17-21), the relation to the apocalyptic deterministic approach to time found in Qohelet 3, and to the apocalyptic philosophy of dualism in Sirach 33:10-15; 39:15-35, and of determinism in 15:11-20. The authors of the wisdom literature from Qumran expressed their own philosophical and social outlook concerning the education of the members of their circles. In order to investigate the roles and directions of education by means of the wisdom literature of Qumran in relation to the traditional educational background, we shall survey some means of education in ancient Jewish and other national societies.

2.  Education in Ancient Jewish and other National Societies

Generally speaking, the art of education may be divided into the education of children and youth, and that of adults. According to the Hebrew Scriptures, the task of education was imposed upon the parents, mainly on the father (see Gen 18:19; Exod 12:24-27; 13:8; Deut  4:9; 6:7, 20-25; 32:7, 46;  cf. Ps 78:1-8).[6]  The books of the Law instruct the father to teach his children the precepts of God and the traditional history of Israel.  According to such instructions as Hear, my child, your fathers instruction, and do not reject your mothers teaching in Prov 1:8 (cf. 4:1; 6:20; etc.), it would appear that the teaching of sapiential instructions for daily life was also the role of the parents. These roles of the father could be realized so long as the children lived with their parents or under their authority. However, in the sapiential books of Proverbs, Sirach, Ahikar, and some texts from Qumran, the style of appealing to son or sons became so habitual that even the sages appealed to their readers by this title, even though they might have been adult persons.[7]  This style of appealing to a son or sons is known from ancient Egyptian and Babylonian wisdom texts, whose influence on Hebrew texts has been elucidated by Nili Shupak and others.[8]  However, in addition to the role of the father in educating his children, there were schools in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, as evidenced by its wisdom literature and archeological inscriptions, [9] whereas in Israel such evidence is known mainly from the Second Temple period on.[10]

The art of reading and writing was the basic subject of official educationmostly for purposes of training professional scribes, but also for daily needs, for reading Holy Scriptures and compositions regarding the knowledge of human beings. Several inscriptions from Canaan containing different groups of alphabets, including one ostracon with alphabet letters found in the ruins of Khirbet Qumran, and four ostraca with alphabet letters from Murbaat, demonstrate that the art of writing was studied in Israel.[11] According to these, Andre Lemaire suggests that there were schools for studying reading and writing in ancient Canaan[12] and, according to the aforementioned later inscriptions, one may suggest that such schools also existed in Judaea. Inscriptions from antiquity demonstrate different levels of this knowledge: from receipts, weights, names, and calendar, to developed administrative and literary writings.[13]

The ancient Egyptian schools were established to qualify scribes for administrative duties.[14] The training of scribes included the study of reading and writing, the wisdom of oration and ethics, especially regarding relationships between persons in variegated social situations. The art of the scribe was regarded as an exclusive profession, which assured high social status.  In a satire written by Kheti son of Duauf as a letter of a father to his son, who is sent to study in such a school, there is a comparison of the profession of scribing vis-a-vis other professions in order to encourage the son to be a scribe.  At the conclusion of the satire he wrote:

See, theres no profession without a boss

except for the scribe;  He is the boss.

Hence if you know writing

it will do better for you

Look, I have set you on gods path;

A scribes Renenet (good luck) is on his shoulder

on the day of his birth;

When he reaches the gate

the people bow down before him;

Look. No scribe is short of food

and of riches of the palace[15]

Ben-Sira wrote a similar composition, in which the scribal art is compared to other professions (38:24-39:11). Before describing the art of a scribe he concludes his comparison between the high status of a scribe and that of other professions, as follows:

All these rely on their hands,

and all are skillful in their own work.

Without them no city can be inhabited,

and wherever they live, they will not go hungry.

Yet they are not sought out for the council of the people,

not do they attain eminence in the public assembly.

They do not sit in the judges seat,

nor do they understand the decisions of the courts;

They cannot expound discipline or judgment,

and they are not found among rulers. (38:31-33).

According to documents discovered in the archives of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Ugarit, Hatti and Canaan, the administrative writings of the scribes included contracts and official letters, codes of laws, chronicles of kings, lists concerning the wealth and cult of temples, receipts and weights, etc.;  their literary productivity included sapiential proverbs, mythical literature and other literary genres.  Biblical evidences of administrative writings are, e.g. the lists of the twelve officials that Solomon had over all Israel (1 Kings 4:7-19), the list of the seventy-seven officials and elders of Succoth written by a young man at the order of Gideon son of Joash (Judges 8:13-14), etc.  The Bible also contains information regarding the writings of the scribes of the kings, the scribe of a prophet, and other literary writings.[16]  Official administrative and other documents from Wadi Daliyeh, Nahal Hever, Nahal Se`elim, Murbaat, and the literary scrolls from Masada and Qumran are evidence of developed professional scribal activity in Judaea during the Second Temple period and after the destruction of the Temple.[17]  Emanuel Tov has studied the professional scribal practices of the writings from Qumran,[18] and the Qumran scrolls are the ultimate evidence of the Jewish scribal practice in the Second Temple Period. Thus, we may suggest that the art of the scribes was studied in specific schools in Judaea, even though we have no definite evidence of such schools, but only of other types of schools.

The existence of schools in Israel during the Second Temple period is evidenced in a number of Rabbinic texts.  Thus, for example, b. Baba Batra 21a mentions Rabbi Joshua son of Gamela (63 CE), who amended the law of childrens education as follows:

That teachers of school-children be placed in every city-state and in every town and that [children] be brought there at the age of six or seven

.

The purpose of this law was to correct an earlier situation, in which only those children whose fathers could send them to Jerusalem studied.  This was a social reform to extend the education of children to the entire society, rather than confining professional education to the children of the rich. Thanks to this reform, the instruction of children pervaded Judaea.[19] According to b. Shabbat 12a, the sages of the School of Shammai objected to teaching children on the Sabbath day, whereas the Hillelites allowed it.[20]  It may be that Proverbs 17:16 already evidenced payment for professional teaching: Why should fools have a price in hand to buy wisdom, when they have no mind to learn.  Compare also Prov 5:13-14, in which a man confesses: I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors;  soon I was in dire trouble amidst the assembled congregation.[21]  Both the authors of Qohelet and of Sirach say that they were teachers of wisdom (see Qoh. 12:9;  Sir 51:23). However, their schools or Batei Midrash might have been for adult students.  The study of wisdom or Scripture by adults is mentioned in an apocryphal psalm appearing in the Psalms Scroll from Qumran:

From the gates of the righteous is heard her voice,

and from the assembly of the pious her song.

When they eat with satiety she is cried,

and when they drink in community together.

Their meditation is on the Law of the Most High,

their words on making known his might. (11QPsa 18:10-12)[22]

Although study by adults was common in the Qumran community (as we shall see later), this psalm seems to describe a common reality of Second Temple Jewish society generally.  Such a social reality might have occurred among the upper classes of the towns, but not among farmers in villages, or tradesman who were busy with their work or lived far from the central city.

3. Education and Study in Qumran

According to Josephus and the scrolls from Qumran, there were two kinds of organized communities among the Essenes and the members of the Yahad:  communities of celibate people, possibly those described in the Rule of the Community;  and communities composed of families, called camps, as described in the Damascus Document.[23] According to the Damascus Document, those who enter the covenant for all of Israel as an eternal statute shall have their sons, who have reached (the age) for passing among those that are mustered, take the oath of the covenant (CD 15:5-6).[24]  From this law, one may deduce that the education of children and youth was the duty of the father, as required by the Torah Law for all Israel.  However, the education of children and youth among the Yahad is to prepare them for observing the Law of Moses with all heart [and with all] soul, to that which is found to be done during the en[tire tim]e of [evi]l (ibid., 15:9-10).  This statement indicates a specific education given to children and youth of the Yahad. According to the context of CD 15 and 1QS 5:7-10, (the oath of the covenant) was the initiating oath that needed to be undertaken by those who enter the Yahad, in the annual ceremony held within the community in the presence of all its members. As these youth were educated within the community, one might infer that they should not undertake a former oath in front of the Overseer of the community like those who enter the community from the public of Israel.

How were children and youth educated? Were there schools in the community, or a specific program for educating its children? Such a program is found in 1QRule of the Congregation (1QSa = 1Q28a). The statutes written in this composition are said to be observed by the congregation of Israel in the final days, when all Israel is gathered to undertake the statutes of the Yahad.  Lawrence Schiffman has nevertheless claimed that the community already observed these laws during its present situation, known as the time of evil.[25]  The following is the program of education as recorded in the Rule of the Congregation:

From his y[outh] [they shall edu]cate him in the Book of Hagy,

and according to his age, instruct him in the precepts of the covenant,

and he wi[ll receive ins]truction in its regulations; during ten years he will be

counted among the small children. At the age of twenty y[ears, he will transfer

to] those enrolled to enter the lot amongst his family and join the holy

community. (1QSa 1:6-9)

This program divides the education of children into two parts, each lasting for ten years. During the first ten years a child is too young to study the precepts of the covenant. This study is to be undertaken during the period of youth, namely, from the age of ten to twenty.[26] During his youth a boy is capable of studying the Book of Hagy, the means of learning the precepts of the covenant.  The Damascus Document states, regarding the duties of the Overseer in the family camps, that [           ]   (He (the Overseer) shall instruct their sons [              and their children in a spirit] of humility and loving kindness;  CD 13: 17-18 par. 4Q266 9 iii 6-7),[27] suggesting that he was the teacher of the youth.[28]

What is the Book of Hagy, defined here as the means of education? There is no specific book among the Dead Sea Scrolls bearing this title;  hence, its identification is controversial. The title HAGY may allude to the precept you shall meditate on it day and night (Josh 1:8; cf. Ps 1:2), referring to the Book of the Law.  However, the biblical Book of the Law is titled in the scrolls    (the Law of Moses)[29] or (the Law).  According to the Damascus Document, the Book of Hagy is to be meditated upon by the judges of the congregation:  A quorum of ten men chosen from the congregation according to the time, four from the tribe of Levi and Aaron and six from Israel, versed in the Book of Hagy and the foundations of the covenant (CD 10:4-6). Another law stipulates that, among the minimum group of ten men, let not be absent a priest versed in the Book of Hagy (CD 13:2). According to these precepts one may deduce that the Book of Hagy is the Torah of Moses,  expounded according to everything which has been revealed from it to the Sons of Zadok, the priestsand according to the multitude of the men of their covenant (see 1QS 5:8-9 etc.). This is the basis for Yadins suggestion that the Temple Scroll may be the Book of Hagy.[30]

However, all these suggestions are rendered questionable by the sapiential book Musar Le-Mevin, or 4QInstruction, in which a work entitled (Vision of the Meditation on a Book of Memorial;  4Q417 1 i 16)[31] is mentioned in the context of sapiential instructions to an individual understanding one ( or ( . It is stated there that this book was given as an inheritance to man/enosh who had belonged to a spiritual people, but no meditation (or virtue of meditation) was given to those who inherited fleshly spirit.  This statement, reflecting the deterministic-dualistic philosophical approach held by members of the apocalyptic circle and by the people of Qumran, makes it clear that only the chosen people, who were inspired by the intellectual virtue of understanding knowledge of the difference between good and evil, inherited the aforementioned book. Cana Werman, who dealt with the issue of What is the Book of Hagu?, paid attention to the difference between the titles  ) the Meditated Vision of the Book of Memorial [her translation]), and (Book of Hagy/Hagu), referred to elsewhere in the Dead Sea Scrolls.[32]  Throughout her investigation of the contents and ideas of the sapiential instructions of the book Musar Le-Mevin (4QInstruction) and other wisdom texts from Qumran including the Book of Jubilees, she came to the conclusion that the book titled   is not identical to , but preceded it.  In my opinion, this scholarly position should be reconsidered in light of the main message of the book Musar Le-Mevin.

The origin of the wisdom upon which Musar Le-Mevin instructs its readers to meditate is not the book of the Law, nor the instruction of a father or a sage, but rather the wisdom of the , the mystery that is to be. According to the principal discussion in this work, the concept of raz nihyeh is related to knowledge of the wondrous mysteries of God that He preordained for all the times: , everything which is to come to pass [in the present], it has come to pass [in the past] and will come to pass [in the future] (4Q418 123 ii 2-3; cf. 4Q417 1 i 3-5, par.;  4Q418 43:2-3).[33]  This wisdom may be identified with the teaching of the (the happenings of eternity) which the Overseer and the Maskil had to teach the members of the Yahad (CD 13:8, cf. ibid 10; 1QS 3:15), but it is concerned specifically with everything that is to come to pass regarding the life of individuals.

The advantage of meditation upon the raz nihyeh relates to the wisdom by which God laid down all the deeds of creation, including those concerning human beings: (4Q417 1 i 8b-9a).[34] This mysterious wisdom concerning all of Creation relates to the dualistic decree concerning all human beings, and is therefore useful for discerning between truth and iniquity, wisdom and foolishness, good and evil, according to their visitation upon individuals (ibid., lines 6-8; cf. 1QS 4:2-14) in all ages everlasting. Hence, meditation upon the everlasting deeds of God and the distinction between the outcomes of his preordained dualistic secret plan (4Q417 1 i 11-13) is helpful for man knowing how he should walk [p]erfec[tly in all his [ac]tions (ibid., line 12, cf. 1QS 9:19).[35] Indeed, the meditation upon the wondrous deeds of God in all ages includes the knowledge of the outcomes that one may deduce from historical deeds of old ( , 4Q417 1 i 3), such as the iniquities of the sons of Sheth (ibid., line 13), the judgment of Korah (4Q423 5:1-4) and the punishment of Adam and Eve (4Q423 1-2;1-5).[36]  But these are only one aspect of the knowledge of the raz nihyeh in Musar Le-Mevin.  The meditation upon history is the main issue of the Book of Mysteries from Qumran (1Q27; 4Q299-301),[37] that does not deal with the advantage of the meditation upon the raz nihyeh for individuals, but for all nations.[38]  The main instructions of Musar Le-Mevin are based on precepts of the Law, or on ethical values, but all this is in accordance with the preordained decrees of God for the life of each individual, regarding economic and social daily life. This predetermined approach toward sapiential instructions for individuals is not found in another sapiential text from Qumran, 4QInstruction-like Composition B (4Q424),[39] nor in Proverbs and Sirach, the traditional books of instructions to individuals. As mentioned above, the idea of predestination was rejected by Ben-Sira and by the author of Qohelet from the Second Temple period;  therefore, it may be considered an innovation within traditional Jewish wisdom.

For example:  regarding the economic and social position of a needy individual, the understanding one is instructed as follows:

[] (4Q417 2 iii 8-10)

You are needy; do not desire something beyond your share/inheritance, and be

not you confused by it, lest you displace your boundary . And by the raz

that is to be study the origins thereof (i.e. of the mystery) and then you shall

know what is allotted to it , and in righteous shall you walk.

This instruction to the needy who wishes to improve his economic inheritance warns him against stumbling through deeds of injustice, similar to the instructions in Prov 12:24; 16:8; Sirach 27:1-2, 26-27. However, the instruction of Musar Le-Mevin differs from those of Proverbs concerning the origin of economic inheritance and a persons proper way of behavior. An instruction of Proverbs recommends to a person, Do not remove the ancient landmark that your ancestors set up (22:28) regarding his economic inheritance and ways of behavior. By contrast, the instruction of Musar Le-Mevin refers to the economic inheritance of a man and his ways of behavior according to the preordained destiny allotted for him by God, of which he should study by the wisdom of the raz nihyeh.

Both traditional wisdom instruction and that of Musar Le-Mevin are concerned with the existential life of their readers. However, the latter instructs the needy understanding one to take into consideration the End of Days so as to prevent him from augmenting his misery. The meditation upon the raz nihyeh is concerned with comprehension of the birth times of salvation (4Q417 2 i 9-10). It is thereby helpful in preventing the needy from engaging in activities that are not correctly appropriate in time, and which may therefore increase his toil in the present. Knowledge of the eschatological upheaval, that will cause those who now mourn to rejoice, is propitious for the feeling and activities of the needy (ibid., 2 i 10-12, par. 4Q416 2 i 4-6).

The precept of the Law to honor ones parents is also interpreted by meditation upon the wisdom of the raz nihyeh. According to this wisdom, this precept is not just an ethical one, as it is explained in Sirach 4:1-16, but the outcome of the unbreakable biological relationship between parents and children for they are the womb that was pregnant with you (4Q416 2 iii 17).  Therefore a man cannot pass over this precept under any circumstance, including that of poverty.[40]  Likewise, the wisdom of the raz nihyeh articulates the concept of an unbreakable matrimonial connection between husband and wife, based on their becoming one flesh (Gen 2:18, 21-24; 3:16).  Hence, the reason for preserving the integrity of a marriage is not just domestic harmony, as in Proverbs 5:15-20; 18:22;31:10-31 and Sirach 9:1-9; 23:16-27; 25:1; 26:1-3, 13-22, 27; 36: 26-31; 40:23, but rather the biological and genetic relationship between husband and wife, whose union is considered by this wisdom as preordained destiny.

This predetermined view, which the understanding one is counseled to take into consideration during his daily life, is consistent with the theological approach that a maskil or an overseer of the Yahad are to teach the members of the Community. However, whereas their explanation is a theoretical one (cf. 1QS 3:15-4:26; cf. CD 2:2-13), the wisdom book of Musar Le-Mevin instruct its readers how this predestined approach is to guide their daily life. These instructions seem intended to direct adult individuals, either those of the family camps of the Yahad or, in the event that this book is pre-sectarian, each adult individual of the apocalyptic circle, who might have been considered as an understanding one.

A sectarian admonition directed to (sons) is written in the Damascus Document (CD 2:14-4:12a). This admonition surveys the history of humanity and Israel from the generation of the flood until the present generation of these sons, namely, those considered as candidates of the Yahad.[41]  This historical survey is based on biblical history, according to its interpretation in the Book of Jubilees (cf. Jub 6:18-19), and on homilies in Ezek 44:15 and 1 Sam 2:35, which identify the Yahad as the true   (sure house), who stands in the end of days.

In concluding our discussion of the dilemma regarding the identification of the books entitled and , we may accept Wermans suggestion that these may have been different books. If Musar Le-Mevin is identified with , it is a book of sapiential instructions, whereas seems to be a book of the Law of Moses with interpretations accepted by the Yahad.  It is sufficient that the latter be used by the judges of the community and by the priests in the small groups, and possibly for the education of the youth regarding the right way of observing the Mosaic Law.

Recommendations to study the Book of the Law are common among traditional Jewish books of wisdom, including the Qumran wisdom literature. However, the book of the Law is not identified with wisdom books, neither in the Bible and Sirach, nor in Qumran. The biblical wisdom books and the Book of Sirach instruct their readers to study the Law, teaching them that by observing the Law and by fearing God they are prevented from committing evil and faulty deeds (Prov 14:26-27; 15:33; Sir 21:11; 32:13-18, 23-24; 32:1-2;[42] cf. Ps 37:30-31). Thus, the study of the Law is a means for attaining wisdom (cf. Prov 9:10; 28:4, 7; 29:18; Qoh. 12:13; Sir 1:14-15, 26-27;[43] 6:37).[44] According to this idea, the ultimately similar purpose of the book of the Law and the books of wisdom sometimes led to a quasi- identification of Wisdom and Law, as e.g. in Job 28:28: '  (the fear of God is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding); in Sir 19:20a:   '  (the whole of wisdom is the fear of the Lord),[45] or, as Segal formulates it, exchanging the means and the purpose.[46] However, the instructions contained in both biblical wisdom and in Ben-Sira are concerned with ethical values, never with cultic and ritual commandments of the Law, such as the performance of Sabbath, festivals, sacrifices, etc.[47]

The Qumranic text of Beatitudes (4Q525) is the most prominent composition from Qumran that involves the study of  (wisdom) and (Law) together as means of education.[48] The purpose of this text is to educate its readers [] [] [to kno]w wisdom and disc[ipline](1:2; cf. 2-3 ii 12), like the books of Proverbs and Sirach. The didactic method of its opening extant fragments is a series of beatitudes that declare the happiness of the man who attains wisdom and walks in the Law of the Most High (2-3 ii 3-4). Due to the absence of the first parts of this series, and the quasi-identification of wisdom and Law in the beatitude quoted, it is difficult to distinguish between the means and the purpose in this beatitude. According to such beatitudes as :  happy are they who cling to her statutes (2-3 ii 1);[49]    :  he mediates on it continually (ibid., line 6), one may suggest that the studying of the Law is the means for attaining wisdom or, put otherwise, the beatitudes educate the reader to mediate on the Law to attain wisdom. In terms of this aspect, the content of these beatitudes is similar to that of Proverbs and Sirach. Likewise, the instructions of this text educate the readers for ethical behavior, as is clear from instructions regarding the manner of conversing with people (14 ii 18-28), and the beatitudes that refers to Ps 15:2-3; 24:4, such as [       ]    [happy is the one       ] with a clean heart and does not slender with his tongue; happy are those who seek it with pure hands, and do not search for it with a deceitful heart (2-3 ii 1, 2-3). However, the explanation of the way that a man should establish his heart in its ways may refer to sectarian education, in which a man should not neglect the study of the Law and the performance of its statutes even in the face of [his] trial, at the time of distress, and [in the day of] terror (ibid., lines 4-6). Such situations are mentioned in sectarian texts from Qumran regarding the difficulties that a member of the Yahad may encounter and cope with during the epoch of wickedness (cf. 1QS 1:17-18).[50] According to these instructions, one may suggest that the study of the Law for the attainment of wisdom is tantamount to studying the performance of its statutes according to the specific interpretation held by the doctrine of the Community.

Another difference between traditional didactic wisdom and that of Qumran is apparent in the text of the wicked woman (4Q184).[51] The author of this text elaborates the sapiential parable of the seductive woman of Proverbs 2:16-19; 5:1-6; 7:1-23, warning his readers against the temptations of wickedness in general, not only sexual temptations. This is done by personification of abstract evil as a seductive woman.[52]

Conclusion

The practices and contents of education in antiquity have been studied on the basis of archeological inscriptions and ancient literature. Such evidence from Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Israel demonstrate, on the one hand, the similarity between cultural, social and administrative requirements of education among different nations and kingdoms and, on the other, national and religious differences between them. Thus, the authority of the father for the education of his children was a common tradition in these ancient nations and cultures. Administrative systems of kingdoms, temples and courts, and cultural life in general, demand knowledge of reading and writing, and these arts were studied by professional teachers, privately or in schools. Evidence of such professional education demonstrates that it was possible especially for rich families, and scribes held a high social status.

The main evidence regarding education of both children and adults in Israel is known from the Second Temple period onwards. In addition to administrative and secular-cultural needs of organized societies, the education of children and adults in Israel was involved with religious education, namely, knowledge of the (the Law). The basic education concerning the historical tradition of Israel and the basic statutes of the Law had to be performed by the father.  Further education involving interpretations of the Law and in wisdom would have been performed by sages and professional teachers, and was accomplished, not only for children and youth, but also for adults, as evidenced by Ben-Sira, the author of Qohelet, and writings from Qumran. Qumran writings, such as the scrolls concerning the rules of the congregation (the Rule Scroll, the Damascus Document, the Rule of the Congregation), demonstrate the systems of education for the youth and adults of the Community.  Didactic wisdom literature, such as the books of Proverbs, Sirach, Qohelet, the Wisdom of Solomon, and the wisdom compositions from Qumran, may be considered as evidence for the contents of the education, particularly of the ethical and religious values that were held in Israel, during the Second Temple period. The existence of wisdom compositions from Qumran vis a vis those of the traditional books of wisdom demonstrate the unique approach of education held among the circle of the apocalyptic movement and the members of the Yahad during this period.



[1]      See, for instance, Instructions of Suruppak, in W. G. Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature (Oxford: Clarendon, 1960) 92-95; Counsels of Wisdom, ibid., 96-106; S. Dening - Bolle, Wisdom in Akkadian Literature: Expression, Instruction, Dialogue (Leiden: Ex Oriente Lux, 1992) 124-33; M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature (Barkeley: University of California, 1973) I.58-80, 136-39, 184-92.  For more ancient Egyptian texts see below, n. 3.

[2]      See e.g. Lambert, Counsels of Wisdom, lines 135-47; Proverbs 3:5-10; Sirach 1:25-2:18; 15:11-16:23.

[3]      Regarding stylistic features and terminology in ancient Egyptian and Hebrew wisdom literature, see N. Shupak, The Sitz im Leben of the Book of Proverbs in the Light of a Comparison of Biblical and Egyptian Wisdom Literature, RB 94 (1987) 98-119; idem, Where can Wisdom be Found? The Sages Language in the Bible and in Ancient Egyptian Literature (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 130; Goettingen: Vanderhoeck & Ruprecht, 1993) 32-51. For the genres and styles of Babylonian sapiential instructions, see above, n. 1.

[4]      See, e.g. the Babylonian text Nisaba and Wheat, in Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature, 168-75.

[5]      See e.g.  R. Gordis, Introduction of Wisdom Literature, in  (ed. M. Rivolov, New York: 1942 ), VI: 117-47 (esp. 125-32, 134-47). M. V. Fox, Qohelet and His Contradictions, JSOTSups 71 (Sheffield: Almond 1989), 121-50.  In his discussion of justice and theodicy in wisdom literature, Fox claims that the awareness of injustice is attested not just by the authors of Qohelet, but also by the authors of Proverbs and other sages. But the author of Qohelet differs from most other sages in focusing on manifestations of injustice rather than on justice, a shift that diffracts his entire world-view (p. 142). See esp. pp. 137-150.

[6]      See ,  edited by Avinoam Yelin, Jerusalem 1938; For Egyptian letters and instruction written by kings to their sons see Gordis, Introduction of Wisdom Literature, 141. For the texts see Lictheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature (op. cit. n. 1). For a letter of a father to his son concerning the art of the scribe, see below, n. 14. For discussion of the education given by fathers to their sons see J. L. Crenshaw, Educaton in Israel: Across the Deadening Silence (New York: Doubleday, 1998) 153-54; 161-63.

[7]      In Proverbs it appears 22 times, in Sirach it appears 24 times, it is dominant in the book of Ahikar, and appears in some texts from Qumran: e.g.  4Q417 1 i 18, 25; 4Q418 69 ii 15 (all appeal to a son in singular); 4Q525 2-3 ii 12; 10:3; CD 2:14 (all appeals are in plural). Most of the texts from Qumran appeal to their readers in titles, such as   , , , ,See B. Nitzan,  (forthcoming).

[8]      N. Shupak, " , Ph.D. Diss. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1944; idem, Where can Wisdom be found? 31-51 (op. cit.  n. 3); idem, " ",      (eds. ' ' , Jerusalem: Shazar, 1999)13-21; J. L. Crenshaw, Education in Ancient Israel, JBL 104 (1985) 607; idem, Education in Ancient Israel, 15-27; Lambert, Instructions of  Suruppak, (op. cit. n. 1); Dening Bolle, Wisdom in Akkadian Literature (op. cit. n. 1)

[9]      Crenshaw, Education in Ancient Israel, 85-86.  L. L. Grabbe, A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period (Library of Second Temple Studies 47;  London: Clark, 2004) 154 (bibliography there). Grabbe is aware that scribes were trained in schools in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, but if there were schools for others than scribes, they would have been for the wealthy and aristocratic, though these could probably afford hire tutors.

[10]     On the development of the Jewish school, see M. Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism (London: SCM 1974) 78-83.

[11]     See J. Naveh, (Jerusalem 1989) 1-6; G. W. Nebe, Alphabets, in Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls (eds. L. H. Schiffman and J. C. VanderKam, New York: OUP 2000) 18-20.

[12]     A. Lemaire, Les ecoles et la formation de la Bible dans lancien Israel, p. 32. See also Crenshaw, Education in Ancient Israel, 100-108.

[13]     On literacy in ancient Israel, Egypt, Greece and Rome, see Crenshaw, Education in Ancient Israel, 29-49. On literacy in ancient Rome, see S. F. Bonner, Education in Ancient Rome: From the Elder Cato to the Younger Pliny (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1977).

[14]    H. Brunner, Altaegyptische Erzierung, Wisbaden 1957; Crenshaw, Education in Ancient Israel, 608-609; idem, Education in Ancient Israel 22-27; Shupak, The Sitz im Leben, 101-107 (op. cit. n. 3).

[15]     For its Egyptian origin, see W. Helck, Die Lehre des Dws Htjj I, II, Kleine aegyptlische Texte (Wiesbaden 1970); For the English Translation, see M. Lichteim, Ancient Egyptian literature A Book of Reading (Berkley: Univesity of California Press, 1973) I.188-93, esp. pp. 189, 191. For the Hebrew translation see Shupak, " ", 20.

[16]     See the biblical references on the roles of the scribes in Grabbe, A History of the Jews and Judaism, 152.

[17]      See D. M. Gropp, Daliyeh, Wadi: Written Material, Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 162-65; H. M. Cotton, Hever, Nahal: Written Material, ibid., 359-61; H. Eshel, Murbaat: Wadi, Written Material, ibid., 583-86; S. Talmon, Masada: Written Material, ibid., 520-25; H. M. Cotton, Se`elim, Nahal: Written Material, ibid., 860-62; A, Yardeni, : (Jerusalem: The Israel Exploration Society, 1995).

[18]    E. Tov, Scribal Practices, Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 827-30; idem. Scribes, ibid., 830-31.

[19]    The sequences of this reform are written in b. Baba Batra 21a, as follows:

       Said Rabba: From the time of the ordinance of Joshua b. Gamela and onward children are not sent from one town to another to go to school, but they can be required to go from one synagogue to another in the same town. And said Raba, The number of students for an elementary school teacher is twenty-five, and if there are fifty, we appoint two; if there are forty, an assistant, [all] at the expense of the locale The English translation follows J. Neusner, The Talmud Babylonia: An Academic Commentary XXII (Atlanta: Scholar Press, 1996 ) A.83.

[20]    See V. Noam, " ", 41 ("), 64

[21]    The English translation of v. 13 follows the New RSV, and that of v. 14 follows the JPS.

[22]    See J. A. Sanders, The Psalms Scroll of Qumran Cave 11 (11QPsa), DJD 4 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1965) 39, 64-65.

[23]     Josephus, J.W. 2.8.2 #121; 2.8.13 ##160-161; CD 7:4-9; 13:16-19; 14:12-17. See E. Qimron, Celibacy in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Two Kinds of Sectarians, in The Madrid Qumran Congress, STDJ 11.I  (eds. J. Trebolle Barrera and L. Vegas Montaner, Leiden: Brill, 1992) 287-94.

[24]     See E. Qimron, in the Damascus Document 15:1-2, JQR 81 (1990) 115-18.

[25]     See L. H. Schiffman, The Eschatological Community of the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Study of the Rule of the Congregation (Atlanta Ga.: Scholars Press, 1989).

[26]     See J. Licht, The Rule Scroll. A Scroll from the Wilderness of Judaea, 1QS, 1QSa, 1QSb (Jerusalem: The Bialik Institute, 1965) 253, 256 (Hebrew).

[27]     The English translation follows that of J. M. Baumgarten, DJD 18, 71. His suggestion that the word (and daughters) was written in the gap is uncertain.

[28]    In a previous article I suggested, according to the context of CD 13:16-19, that the Overseer had to teach those children that their father could not do it. However, it is not necessary to connect between the Overseers role in the judicial procedure of divorcing families, and his role of educating the children of the community. means teach, instruct. Cf. Isa 28:26; Deut 4:36; Jer 17:23; 32:33; 35:13; Zeph 3:2, 7; Prov 1:8; 4:1; 8:33; 19:20; etc., not necessarily with punishments.

[29]     See 1QS 5:8; 8:22; CD 15:2, 9, 12; 16:2, 5, 8; 4Q266 18 v 6.

[30]    Y. Yadin, The Temple Scroll, Jerusalem 1977, I.300-302 (Hebrew).

[31]    For this translation of the Hebrew phrase see DJD 34, 155.

[32]     Cana Werman, What is the Book of Hagu, in Sapiential Perspectives: Wisdom Literature in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls, STDJ 51 (eds. J. J. Collins et al, Leiden: Brill, 2004) 125-40.

[33]    See T. Elgvin, The Mystery that is to Come to Come: Early Essenes Theology of Revelation, in Qumran between the Old and New Testament (eds. F.H. Cryer and T.L. Thompson; JSOTSup 290; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998) 113-50.

[34]     See J. Strugnell and D. Harrington, Qumran Cave 4.XXIV, Sapiential Texts, part 2, DJD 34 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1999) 158-59.

[35]     See B. Nitzan, The Ideological and Literary Unity of 4Qinstruction, DSD (forthcoming).

[36]    See the discussion of C. Werman, What is the Book of Hagu, 132-38.

[37]    See L. H. Schiffman, 299-301. 4Qmysteries a-b, c?, Qumran Cave 4.XV, Sapiential Texts, Part 1, DJD 20 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1997) 31-123.

[38]     See also 4Q298 and 4Q413 (DJD 20, 19-30; 169-71), but there the phrase raz nihyeh is not mentioned.

[39]     See S. Tanzer, 4Q424. 4QInstruction-like Composition B, P. Elexander et al. (eds.). Qumran Cave 4.XXVI. DJD 36 (Oxford: Clarendon, 2000) 333-346;; G. Berin, Studies in 4Q424 1-2, RevQ 18 (1997) 21-41; idem, Studies in 4Q4242 3, VT 46 (1996) 271-295; idem, The Relation between 4Q424 abd the Book of Ben-Sira, in G. Brin and B. Nitzan (eds.)  (Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi, 2001) 253-274 (Hebrew); B. Nitzan, Instructions for the Individual in Sapiential Texts from Qumran, in M. Bar Asher and D. Dimant (eds.), :  (Jerusalem: The Bialik Institute, 2003) I.95-109 (Hebrew).

[40]    See J. J. Collins, Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age (Louisville: Westminster, 1997) 120.

[41]    See P. R. Davis, The Damascus Covenant, JSOT 25 (Sheffield: JSOT, 1983)  76-104.

[42]    See P. R. Skehan and A. A. Di Lella, The Wisdom of Ben Sira (New-York: Doubleday, 1987) 398-99)

[43]    Idem, ibid., 144-46.

[44]     The study of the Law and the fear of God are common means for attaining Wisdom in the wisdom literature of Israel. See Moshe Zvi Segal, 3 - (Jerusalem: The Bialik Institiute, 1972) 22-25;  G. von Rad, Wisdom in Israel (London: SCM, 1942) 242-47. Von Rad explains that for Ben-Sira the attaining wisdom by studying and observing the Law is a theological idea, already latent in Prov 1:1-7. M. Hengel suggest that this idea became prominent in Sirach against Hellenism and its wisdom (Judaism and Hellenism, 160-62).

[45]    However the second part of this maxim (and in all wisdom there is the fulfillment of the Law ) explains that the purpose of wisdom is training for observance the Law (Segal, ibid., 117).

[46]     Idem, ibid., p. 22.

[47]     Idem, ibid., p. 23.

[48]    E. Puech, 525. 4Qbeatitudes, Qumran Grotte 4 XVIII, DJD 25 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1998) 115-78;  Idem,  The Collection of Beatitudes in Hebrew and in Greek (4Q525 1-4 and Mt 5, 3-12), in Early Christianity in Context: Monuments and Documents (eds. F. Manns and E. Alliata, Jerusalem: Franciscan Press, 1993) 353-68.

[49]    The translation of this beatitude follows that of D. J. Harrington, Wisdom Texts from Qumran (London and New York: Routledge, 1996) 66, 68. Harrington suggests that in the Hebrew Scriptures the word in beatitude declares someone happy or fortune, and is to be distinguished from a benediction (blessed are you), whose object is usually God.

[50]    Trials (,(, are mentioned in 1QHa 17 (=9):10; 1QS 3:1; 1QHa 4:34 (= 17:22); 4Q504 1-2 vi 7. Distress () is mentioned in 1QS 1:7; 8:4; 4Q174 1-3 ii 1; 4Q171 1-2 ii 18; 4Q177 5-6:3. Time of terror ( ) is mentioned in 1QS [9:26]. See Puech, DJD 25, 124-25. The Hebrew phrase is mentioned in Sir 37:4, but in a context of false friendly relationship.

[51]     J. M. Allegro, Qumran Cave 4.I (DJD 5;  Oxford: Clarendon, 1968) 82-85.

[52]     See J. Licht, The Wiles of the Wicked Woman, in : (ed. B. Uffenheimer, Tel-Aviv: Tel-Aviv University 1972) 289-96 (Hebrew) ;  R. D.  Moore, Personification of the Seduction of Evil: The Wiles of the Wicked Woman, RevQ 10 (1979-81) 505-19.