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Conclusion: Ben Sira And The Election Of Israel

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Chapter Summary

Most scholars suggest that Ben Sira "equates" Wisdom and Torah. If Wisdom and Torah are essentially the same thing, then Ben Sira's correlation of the two amounts to either a universalization of Torah or a nationalization of Wisdom. His notion of election extends beyond the mere idea that YHWH distinguishes a part from the whole. Ben Sira's association of wisdom with the Jerusalem temple indicates that he views participation in the cult as having the effect of sustaining and renewing the cosmic order upon which the world is founded. The "election" of the Torah and the election of Israel as the people obliged to practice a Torah piety serve purposes beyond the confines of the covenantal community. To contextualize Ben Sira's appropriation of the doctrine of election, the author examines two other Jewish thinkers from the Second Temple period, the author of the Book of Jubilees and Philo of Alexandria.

Keywords: Ben Sira; Book of Jubilees; election; Israel; Jerusalem temple; Philo of Alexandria; Torah; Wisdom; YHWH



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