In Search of Virtue: Ancestral Inheritance in the Testament of Qahat (4Q542)

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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
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiblical Interpretation
Volume29
Issue2
Pages (from-to)206-228
Number of pages23
ISSN0927-2569
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

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