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Sirach 44:1-15 As Introduction To The Praise Of The Ancestors

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Chapter Summary

By lovingly recording Simeon's central place in the temple worship, Ben Sira is able to present his deceased friend as the latest in the long line of Israelite heroes. With many scholars, the author assumes that the Praise of the Ancestors comprises 44:1-50:24 and thus culminates in the praise of Simeon II. According to a common eight-part division of Ben Sira's book, 44:1-15 serves as the introduction to Part VIII (44:1-50:24). This chapter discusses the 44:1-15 in three sections: the ancestors deserving honour (44:1-6); the contrast between remembered and forgotten ancestors (44:7-9); and the blessings bequeathed by honourable ancestors (44:10-15). In each section, the chapter presents the Hebrew text attested in the Masada scroll and/or the great Genizah manuscript B, generally giving preference to the Masada text.

Keywords: ancestors; Ben Sira; Hebrew text; Israelite heroes; Masada scroll; Simeon II; Sirach 44:1-15; temple worship



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