Unsettled Christianity

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Archive for the ‘Sirach’ Category

March 7th, 2016 by Joel Watts

James 1.27… and Sirach 4.10

English: introduction to Sirach, codex sinaiti...

English: introduction to Sirach, codex sinaiticus עברית: הקדמת הנכד לספר בן סירא, יוונית, מתוך “קודקס סינאיטיקוס” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In reading several commentaries, I keep seeing James 1.27 referred back to Isaiah 1.15-16. Admittedly, because I don’t have the time to search my entire library, I cannot tell you no one else has connected James 1.27 to Sirach 4.10. (Briefly looking at commentaries on Sirch, some have made allusions between the two.)

Read all of Sirach 4 here.

Sirach 4.10 reads,

Be like a father to orphans,
and take the place of a husband to widows.
Then God will call you his child,
and he will be merciful to you and deliver you from the pit.

James 1.27 reads,

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

You can easily see the connection. Not merely with the use of orphans and widows, but so too to the allusion of cleansing from sin.

Now, I’m not going to compare the rest of James 1 to Sirach 4, but you can.

This is important for several reasons. One, it informs James’s reception as part of the Wisdom tradition. This is really beyond doubt, in my opinion. Of course, in doing so, I am left to wonder how close a Jacobite Christology is to the Wisdom theology found in Sirach (Say, Sirach 24). Anyway, I would encourage you to read Sirach sometime.

February 26th, 2016 by Joel Watts

Sirach’s God (2.18)

verse of the day

My son and I, as our Lenten practice, have selected to read a passage of Scripture every morning. We have settled on the book of Sirach (Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus). It is, in my opinion, a worthy one for Protestants to reconsider. It is, somewhat, retained in the Anglican tradition via the lectionary and are supported for non-doctrinal teaching.

They should reconsider that.

Nevertheless, if you read the latter half of chapter 2, you’ll get this sense that God is actually…wait for it… love.

And merciful.

And full of Grace.

Do you teach the same thing?

February 28th, 2011 by Joel Watts

Protestants May Have a Deficient Canon…heretics

The interrelationship between various signific...

Image via Wikipedia

Michael Barber has a post up, leading to another post, and was pointed out by this guy.

Barber gives a conclusion which he reached years ago – and I agree with him today, especially since it effects my exegesis paper project. I remember reading F.F. Bruce, on the subject of canonical texts who noted that our text is canon in of itself… Anyway, I digress into a subject which I am not yet prepared to address. Dr. Barber, however, is:

1. The myth that the Palestinian canon was closed by 100 C. E.

2. The notion, even held by Jerome, that the divergent readings of the Christian LXX could simply be chalked up to Hellenizations. Scholars now recognize that the varying readings of the LXX and the MT have their origins in different Hebrew Vorlage.

3. (Closely related to 2): That the MT reading represents a more ancient textual tradition than that of the LXX.

4. The idea that the criterion used by the rabbis to determine the canonical status of the Biblical books was based on solid historical evidence. (In fact, anti-Christian prejudices shaped in their determination.)

5. That when the fathers speak of “canonical” books they always referred to the exhaustive list of books they consider part of Scripture. Indeed, there was not even a neatly divided list of protocanonical and deuterocanoical books – many included Esther in the category of disputed books.

via The Sacred Page: Sirach as Scripture in Judaism?.

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January 19th, 2011 by Joel Watts

A new fragment of the book of Ben Sira, T-S AS 118.78

Scholars Shulamit Elizur and Michael Rand have a piece up about the newest fragment of Sirach

The original Hebrew text of the apocryphal book of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) lies at the very heart of the story of the discovery of the Cairo Genizah and the subsequent dispersal of its contents to the libraries of Europe and the United States. Indeed, the discovery of the Genizah may be dated to 1865, the year when Jacob Saphir visited the repository in the Ben Ezra synagogue in Fustat, as reported in his book Even Sapir (Lyk, 1866). However, it was not until 1896 that the effort to recover and acquire Genizah manuscripts began in earnest, for this was the year when the twin sisters Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson returned from a trip to Cairo with a number of leaves from the Genizah that they had succeeded in purchasing. When they showed these leaves to Solomon Schechter at Cambridge University, he quickly recognised among them the remains of the Hebrew Ben Sira. Schechter’s discovery touched off a bitter rivalry between himself and Adolf Neubauer of Oxford University, the object of which was the identification of further fragments of this book. It was in the course of this rivalry that Schechter traveled to Cairo and secured permission to transfer the bulk of the contents of the Genizah to Cambridge University Library (for further details see Reif 1997 and Jefferson 2009).

The rest, with images, here:

Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit – Fragment of the month.

January 15th, 2011 by Joel Watts

A new fragment of Sirach now displayed

From the ISDCL:

Friedberg Genizah Project:

One interesting finding concerning a BL fragment from Ben-Sira is worth mentioning. This fragment was already identified by Margaliouth (JQR 12, 1899) and then described and transcribed in the Appendix of Margaliouth Catalog (vol. 1, 273-277). Still, no microfilm of this fragment is available at the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts in Jerusalem, and it seems that since Margaliouth nobody really examined the original. Even in the latest edition of Ben-Sira Fragments (Beentjes, Leiden, 1997), the fragment is mentioned only as [British Museum], without a shelfmark. Well, the fragment is now displayed as Or. 5518, to the great joy, we hope, of all interested researchers

link: http://www.archive.org/details/p1catalogueofheb00brituoft

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