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The Treatment of Poverty and Theodicy in the Syriac Translation of Ben Sira

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image of Aramaic Studies

This paper is aimed to address the relationship between the Hebrew and the Syriac versions of Ben Sira—and it will try to expose a coherent agenda on the part of the Syriac translator, explaining at least some of the differences between the two versions. The Syriac translator felt obliged to change the content of the original text's treatment of evil. He tended to stress human choice and mute Ben Sira's allusions to predestination and God's creation of Evil. Pointing out this tendency offers new perspectives on earlier scholarship, especially Winter (1977), who claimed that the Syriac version was biased against wealth.

Affiliations: 1: The Program in Judaic Studies, 451 College St., P.O. Box 208282, Yale Station, New Haven, CT 06520-8282, USA


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