Time as a Cosmic Principle in Jewish Wisdom of the Greco-Roman Period

Arjen Bakker

In this paper I will reflect on the climax of sapiential thinking in the Dead Sea Scrolls which consists of a meditation on light, on time, and on the differentiation of good and evil in the course of history. The goal of wisdom is to understand the deep structures behind the sequence of light and darkness that is considered a dynamic and elongated process, both on a cosmic and historical level. This conglomerate of reflections and insights is held together by the central principle of rāz nihyeh, which can be paraphrased as “the secret of time,” and which has significant correspondences in Jewish wisdom writings in Greek.

Arjen Bakker (Groningen)