Sirach (book of the Bible)

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Sirach (book of the Bible)

Sirach (sī´rək) or Ecclesiasticus (ēklē´zēăs´tĬkəs) [Lat. from Gr.,=ecclesiastical], book included in the Septuagint and in the Roman Catholic canon of the Old Testament but not included in the Hebrew Bible and placed in the Apocrypha of the Authorized Version and Protestant Bibles since. It is called also the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach. A prologue states that the book was composed in Hebrew by one Jesus, son of Sirach, and translated into Greek by his grandson, Simeon son of Jesus son of Eleazar ben Sira. The date of the translation may be 132–131 BC The date of the composition of the original Hebrew text is 200–180 BC The excellence of wisdom and the teaching of wisdom are the main themes. Some important passages include the praise of wisdom leading into a protest against determinism; the identification of personified Wisdom with the law commanded by Moses; the praise of God for the works of nature; and the praise of the famous men of Israel. The book closes with a psalm. Although about two thirds of the Hebrew version has been recovered, there is much textual variation. The book is a good example of wisdom literature (see Wisdom of Solomon).

See P. W. Skehan and A. A. Di Lella, The Wisdom of Ben Sira (1987). See also bibliography under Apocrypha.

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