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Torah and Sapiential Pedagogy in the Book of Ben Sira

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Chapter Summary

Besides, however one might construe the relationship between Wisdom and Torah in Ben Sira, the author is struck by three considerations: (1) Torah functions in Ben Sira as one of several sources for sapiential teaching, albeit an indispensible one; (2) Ben Sira does not explicitly cite material from the Torah; and (3) both of these realizations make sense when we view them through the lens of Ben Sira's pedagogy. These observations deserve more thought, because, as he sees it, they result from and are indicators of significant trends in Second Temple Judaism. For Ben Sira, the Torah, in its legal and narrative aspects, possessed authority both as the commandments of God, which must be followed in order for someone to be wise, and as sacred history, which offered paradigmatic examples of positive and negative types.

Keywords: Ben Sira; Sapiential Pedagogy; Second Temple Judaism; Torah



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