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.
Lindsey A. Askin, PhD (2016), University of Cambridge, is a Lecturer in Jewish Studies at the University of Bristol. She has published on Ben Sira, Jubilees, scribal culture, and ancient Jewish medicine.
Those interested in the history and literature of early Judaism, Ben Sira, biblical interpretation, ancient compositional techniques, especially quotation, and physical and material aspects of reading and writing in antiquity.