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In Scribal Culture in Ben Sira Lindsey A. Askin examines scribal culture as a framework for analysing features of textual referencing throughout the Book of Ben Sira (c.198-175 BCE), revealing new insights into how Ben Sira wrote his book of wisdom. Although the title of “scribe” is regularly applied to Ben Sira, this designation presents certain interpretive challenges. Through comparative analysis, Askin contextualizes the sage’s compositional style across historical, literary, and socio-cultural spheres of operation. New light is shed on Ben Sira’s text and early Jewish textual reuse. Drawing upon physical and material evidence of reading and writing, Askin reveals the dexterity and complexity of Ben Sira’s sustained textual reuse. Ben Sira’s achievement thus demonstrates exemplary, “excellent” writing to a receptive audience.

This study explores whether Ben Sira’s textual use of the Psalms may shed light on the Qumran Psalms Scroll debate. It is proposed that Ben Sira’s quotations of Psalms 104, 147, and 148 in Sir 43:11–19 could point us to which Psalter Ben Sira may have used, since these three psalms are found in close proximity to each other in 11QPsa and 4QPsd. Doing so will allow us to better gauge Ben Sira’s relationship to 11QPsa. Issues such as the 364-day calendar, Sir 51:13–30, and pluriformity are considered. This article finds that the debate is still open as to which Psalter Ben Sira used, either proposal equally remaining possible at this stage, needing more analysis from the rest of Ben Sira’s text. Remarkably the examples and analysis do not yield anything yet to positively disqualify the 11QPsa-Psalter from being used by Ben Sira.

In: Dead Sea Discoveries

The relationship between Simon II (220–c. 195 B. C. E.) and Ben Sira bears much upon the context and dating of the Book of Ben Sira. The setting of patronage and reciprocity in the Mediterranean world raises problems with the common interpretation of Sir 50:1–24 as a eulogy for Simon II. The label of encomium for Sirach 44–50, and the identification of Simon the Righteous, are likewise considered. This article explores reciprocity in Ben Sira’s text, as well as Greek, Roman, and Second Temple examples of patronage, including Tobias in the Zenon archive, Jewish funerary inscriptions, Herod the Great, Aristeas, and 1 Maccabees 12. It is argued that a more fitting way of understanding Sir 50:1–24 and the importance of reciprocity in Ben Sira’s text is that Simon II might be considered as alive at the time of writing, and a probable patronage relationship can be posited. An earlier dating of around 198 B. C. E. is proposed for Sir 50:1–24, if not the entire Book of Ben Sira.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
In: Scribal Culture in Ben Sira
In: Scribal Culture in Ben Sira
In: Scribal Culture in Ben Sira
In: Scribal Culture in Ben Sira
In: Scribal Culture in Ben Sira
In: Scribal Culture in Ben Sira
In: Scribal Culture in Ben Sira