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Ben Siras Apologetic Response

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Chapter Summary

The apocryphal book of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus), the longest extant instruction from the Second Temple period, is modeled on the book of Proverbs, even as it reflects the circumstances of a later era. Yet as analysis of this book and these topics continues, it should be acknowledged that Ben Sira sits squarely within the ancient Near Eastern wisdom tradition, as this author defends longstanding assumptions found in Proverbs and other instructions. When examining all of the important innovations in Sirach, one should not consider the scattered priestly passages or traces of Hellenistic philosophy to be the backbone of the sage?s thought. This chapter attempts to explicate the changing climate for sapiential discourse as revealed in the book of Ben Sira and the lengths that this particular author will go to defend traditional assumptions.

Keywords: Ben Sira; book of Proverbs; Hellenistic philosophy; Near Eastern wisdom tradition; Second Temple period; Sirach



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