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Can Ahiqar Tell Us Anything about Personified Wisdom?


Bezalel Porten and Ada Yardeni’s third volume of Textbook of Aramaic Documents (TAD:3) provides a highly regarded edition of the Aramaic Ahiqar narrative and proverbs that has implications for how scholars of wisdom literature incorporate Ahiqar into discussions of personified Wisdom. The most intriguing result of the new arrangement centers on the two lines of what was traditionally called Saying 13 (TAD:3 lines C1.1.79 and C1.1.189). The two lines of Saying 13 have been crucial for the view that personified Wisdom is in Ahiqar. The unity of the saying has been disrupted, and it seems clear that the respective lines have very different meanings. Based on this evidence, it is my contention that personified Wisdom cannot be found in Ahiqar. I argue, therefore, that Ahiqar no longer has a place in discussions of personified Wisdom and that the relationship between Ahiqar and the biblical wisdom literature must be re assessed in light of this new evidence.