We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Bible Use this Lookup to open a specific Bible and passage. Start here to select a Bible.
Make selected Bible the default for Lookup tool.
Book: Ch.V. Select book from A-Z list, enter chapter and verse number, and click "Go."
:
OR
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result

The Oxford Illustrated History of the Bible A richly illustrated account of the story of the Bible written by leading scholars.

Sirach

The Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira (‘Sirach’ is the Greek name; ‘ben Sirach’ is incorrect), is a translation, as the prologue tells us, by his grandson of a work in Hebrew by Joshua ben Sira. Named simply ‘Sirach’ in the Greek Bibles, it was designated as ‘Ecclesiasticus’ (the church [book]) in the Vulgate, perhaps because of its use in Christian liturgy. The work was certainly known and respected by Jews, and is mentioned in the Mishnah and Talmud. But until the end of the nineteenth century no Hebrew text was known. In 1896 fragments of four (later identified as six) medieval Hebrew manuscripts of the work were found in a synagogue Genizah in Cairo. More recently, bits of Hebrew manuscripts of Ben Sira have been found at Qumran Cave 2 (2Q18) and at Masada. (Even more interestingly, Ben Sira 51: 13–20 is contained within the Qumran Psalms manuscript 11QPsa.) These ancient fragments confirm that the medieval manuscripts are reliable copies of the earlier text. They also confirm that Ben Sira's grandson did not always translate correctly!

However, it seems likely from the evidence of the Greek versions that two basic forms of the Hebrew text may have once existed. The original was rendered by Ben Sira's grandson; an expanded form was later consulted by a Greek translator in revising the existing Greek translation. But, as is frequently the case of a much-copied work, the Greek manuscripts now available show a mixture of the two Greek forms.

Since a Latin translation of the work already existed (and probably he had no access to a Hebrew text), Jerome did not make a new translation of the book for the Vulgate. One curiosity of this Old Latin translation (made from the Greek) is that it preserves what we know to have been the original order, in which 33: 13b–36: 16a took the place of 30: 25–33: 1a and vice versa. All other extant Greek manuscripts (and thus all modern versions) have the altered sequence. The later Syriac translation was, as is often the case, made from the Hebrew but with reference to the Greek.

The result of this complicated history is that the Greek and Latin texts of Ben Sira are very corrupt, and the rediscovery of Hebrew manuscripts has made the task of textual criticism easier though still very far from simple.

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2018. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice