Poverty in Proverbs, Sirach, and 4QInstruction: Wisdom in Transit

  • Pieter M Venter University of Pretoria
Keywords: Proverbs, Ben Sirach, Qumran, Wisdom, Poverty


The books of Proverbs, Sirach and 4QInstruction have a family resemblance.  These books show some mutual tendencies, shared elements and a similar mode of literature.  They are also part of a dynamic process. The activity of people expressing themselves mainly in terms of what can be called wisdom language, was in flux, dynamically moving from one era to a next, from one scenario to another.


This paper studies the idea of poverty in the books of Proverbs, Ben Sira and 4QInstruction in the context of evolving trends in sapiential literature during the time of the Second Temple (516 BCE-70 CE). The theme of “riches and poverty” is one of the most important issues in these books.

Author Biography

Pieter M Venter, University of Pretoria
Emiritus Professor


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