It has often been noted that Mishnah Avot is heir to aspects of the biblical tradition of Wisdom.
A further element of this inheritance is studied here: the tradition of ending a Wisdom book
with a selfreferential
coda, commenting on the value of the text just completed. A philological
study of the end of Avot opens this study, and the results of that study allow us to situate the coda
to Avot in the context of other codas in the Mishnah, especially tractates Neziqin and Kelim. The
paper then moves to situate the conclusion to Avot in the heritage of the conclusions of earlier
Jewish books of Wisdom – Ben Sira, Qohelet, and Proverbs, as well as other biblical books that
show the imprint of Wisdom, such as Hosea.