The Secret of the Way Things Are

The Secret of the Way Things Are

The Secret of the Way Things Are (also called the Sapiential Work Scroll) is considered a wisdom scroll among the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is authored by a spiritual expert, directed towards a beginner. The author addresses how to deal with business and money issues in a godly manner, public affairs, leadership, marriage, children, and family, and how to live life righteously among a secular society.


The scrolls were found in Qumran caves one and four, and date approximately from the first century BCE and early first century CE. Parts of six copies were discovered, indicating popularity and importance, especially to the supposed sect at Qumran. All of the Sapiential manuscripts are in Hebrew, which is deemed the original language of the text (Harrington 2000: 825). The actual ancient title is unknown, but the frequent use of "raz nihyeh", translating to "the mystery of existence," "approaching mystery," or "the way things are" gave reason to title the work "The Secret of the Way Things are" (Davies, Brooke, and Callaway 2002: 140). A well-accepted theory is that the Sapiential Work was a pre-Qumranic text; in other words it was not written for an isolated sect, but it "was" directed toward a specific audience (Elgvin 1996: 129). Many scholars assume the text to either have existed before the formation of the sect, or to have been a pre-cursor to sect involvement (Harrington 2000: 826).

Although the text itself is not considered Apocalyptic, and does not reflect the developed philosophical dualism of the War Scroll or the Community Rule (1Qs), the text does reflect motifs of the end times, judgment, and a pre-destined division of good and evil. The overall ideas and form of the text are comparable to Proverbs, Jesus' instructions and parables in the New Testament gospels, the book of James, and especially the book of Daniel. Fact|date=February 2007

Although there is no literal dependence between Daniel and the Sapiential Works, it is likely that they emerged from the same, or similar scribal circles. Many phrases and ideas from Daniel pertaining to wisdom, revelation, and the elect recur in "The Secret of the Way Things Are." Similarly, both books reflect scribal activitiy with "a quest for divine communication," and "neither are concerned with the sacrificial cult of the Temple" (Elgvin 1996 : 131). The Work is also analogous to New Testament scripture, with recurring similarities found in Proverbs and the Gospel of Matthew. Although the terminology is not consistently parallel, the ideas and themes are comparable. Fact|date=February 2007

An unusual aspect of this particular text is that it addresses women, which is very uncommon for an ancient Jewish text. 4Q413 appears to give advice to a woman, presumably the wife of the beginner being instructed (Harrington 2000: 826). This particular section uses feminine verbal forms, rather than the singular forms used throughout the rest of the instruction (Harrington 1996: 57).


*Davies, Brooke, and Callaway, "The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls," New York, NY: Thames and Hudsom Inc, 2002.

*Wise, Abegg, and Cook, "The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation," San Francisco: Harper,2005.

*Elgvin, T. "Early Essene Eschatology: Judgment and Salvation According to Sapiential Work A," Current Research and Technological Developments on the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1996.

*Harrington, Daniel J., "Wisdom Texts From Qumran," New York, Routledge, 1996.

*Harrington, Daniel J., "Sapiential Work," Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Ed. Lawrence H. Shiffman and James C. Vanderkam, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000

*"Men's Study Bible," New International Version, Zondervan Publishing House, 1997.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Where the Wild Things Are (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode) — Infobox Television episode Title=Where the Wild Things Are Series=Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season=4 Episode=18 Airdate=April 25, 2000 Production=4ABB18 Writer=Tracey Forbes Director=David Solomon Episode list=List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer… …   Wikipedia

  • The Pretty Things — Infobox musical artist Name = The Pretty Things Img capt = The Pretty Things, ca. 1966 Img size = Landscape = Background = group or band Birth name = Alias = Electric Banana Born = Died = Origin = London, England Instrument = Genre = British… …   Wikipedia

  • The Way of the World — is a play written by British playwright William Congreve. It premiered in 1700 in the theatre in Lincoln s Inn Fields, England. It is widely regarded as being one of the best Restoration comedies written and is still performed sporadically to… …   Wikipedia

  • The Way of the World (book) — Infobox book | name = The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism author = Ron Suskind country = United States language = English subject = Politics publisher = Harper release date = August 5, 2008 pages = 432 isbn =… …   Wikipedia

  • The Little Things You Do Together — Infobox Television episode Title = The Little Things You Do Together Series = Desperate Housewives Caption = Season = 3 Episode = 15 Airdate = February 18, 2007 Production = 315 Writer = Marc Cherry Joe Keenan Director = David Grossman Guests =… …   Wikipedia

  • The Way We Were (The O.C. episode) — Infobox Television episode Colour = #ffaa44 Series = The O.C. Title = The Way We Were Season = 2 (2004 2005) Caption = Ryan catches Marissa and D.J. Episode = 2 Airdate = start date|2004|11|11 (FOX) Writer = Allan Heinberg Director = Michael… …   Wikipedia

  • Out of the way — Out Out (out), adv. [OE. out, ut, oute, ute, AS. [=u]t, and [=u]te, [=u]tan, fr. [=u]t; akin to D. uit, OS. [=u]t, G. aus, OHG. [=u]z, Icel. [=u]t, Sw. ut, Dan. ud, Goth. ut, Skr. ud. [root]198. Cf. {About}, {But}, prep., {Carouse}, {Utter}, a.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To put out of the way — Out Out (out), adv. [OE. out, ut, oute, ute, AS. [=u]t, and [=u]te, [=u]tan, fr. [=u]t; akin to D. uit, OS. [=u]t, G. aus, OHG. [=u]z, Icel. [=u]t, Sw. ut, Dan. ud, Goth. ut, Skr. ud. [root]198. Cf. {About}, {But}, prep., {Carouse}, {Utter}, a.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • The Secret (2006 film) — The Secret Directed by Drew Heriot Produced by Rhonda Byrne (Executive Producer), Paul Harrington (Producer) …   Wikipedia

  • The Ballad of John and Yoko — Single par The Beatles Face A The Ballad of John and Yoko Face B Old Brown Shoe Sortie …   Wikipédia en Français

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.