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“Cut Her Away From Your Flesh ”Divorce In Ben Sira

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Chapter Summary

In the Book of Ben Sira much attention is given to women. In the book, mothers, spouses, widows, daughters, virgins, maidservants, popular singers, courtesans and prostitutes always appear in relationship to a man who, in every case, constitutes the only point of reference. Married women receive special attention. The sage divides them in two basic ethical categories: the good spouses and the bad spouses (cf. esp. 25:13-26:18 and 36:21-27).The Syriac version of the Book of Ben Sira probably was written by a Jew (3- 4th century CE) and revised by a Christian before the 5th century CE. With regard to women, the Syriac version is more benevolent, or at least more respectful in some aspects. This chapter focuses on one particular aspect of this theme: divorce. It explores Sir 7:26 (cf. 42:9); 25:26 and 28:15.

Keywords: Book of Ben Sira; Christian; divorce; married women; Syriac version

10.1163/ej.9789004169067.i-273.32
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