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The Anchor Yale Bible: The Wisdom of Ben Sira (AYB)

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The Wisdom of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) contains the sayings of Ben Sira, arguably the last of Israel’s wise men and its first scribe, whose world was defined and dominated by Greek ideas and ideals. This Hellenistic worldview challenged the adequacy of the religion passed down to Palestinian Jews of the second century BC by their ancestors. Ben Sira’s training in both Judaic and Hellenistic literary traditions prepared him to meet this challenge. He vigorously opposed any compromise of Jewish values; and his teaching bolstered the faith and confidence of his people.

Through its elegant poetry and vehement exhortations, the Wisdom of Ben Sira exposes the ill effects of sinful behavior on one’s health status, and spiritual and material well-being. Ben Sira’s rigorous code of moral behavior was the measure of Jewish faithfulness in an era of ethical and religious bankruptcy.

Logos Bible Software gives you the tools you need to use this volume effectively and efficiently. With your digital library, you can search for verses, find Scripture references and citations instantly, and perform word studies. Along with your English translations, all Scripture passages are linked to Greek and Hebrew texts. What’s more, hovering over a Scripture reference will instantly display your verse! The advanced tools in your digital library free you to dig deeper into one of the most important contributions to biblical scholarship in the past century!

  • Offers original translations, including alternative translations, annotations, and variants
  • Provides verse-by-verse commentary on the text
  • Presents the reader with historical background, including analysis of authorship and dating
  • Features an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary literature
  • Part I (1:1–4:10)
  • Part II (4:11–6:17)
  • Part III (6:18–14:19)
  • Part IV (14:20–23:27)
  • Part V (24:1–33:18)
  • Part VI (33:19–38:23)
  • Part VII (38:24–43:33)
  • Part VIII (44:1–50:24)
  • Conclusion (50:25–51:30)

Top Highlights

“In the thought of Ben Sira, wisdom is identified with the Law of Moses; cf. 1:26–27; 15:1; 21:11; 24:23; 34:8. The same idea was held by the rabbis. In the Midrash Bereshith Rabba, 8, a comment on Gen 1:26 states: ‘According to R. Simeon ben Laqish, the Torah was in existence 2,000 years before the creation of the world’” (Page 138)

“Though ‘the works of God are all of them good’ (39:16a, 33a) and God’s providence in creation is marvelous and praiseworthy (39:16–35), human beings still experience anguish, anxiety, and dread. That is the point of the first poem (40:1–10).” (Page 469)

“The great biblical scholar St. Jerome (d. 420) made a distinction between ‘canonical books’ and ‘ecclesiastical books,’” (Page 18)

“To bolster the faith and confidence of his fellow Jews, Ben Sira published his book. His purpose was not to engage in a systematic polemic against Hellenism but rather to convince Jews and even well-disposed Gentiles that true wisdom is to be found primarily in Jerusalem and not in Athens, more in the inspired books of Israel than in the clever writings of Hellenistic humanism.” (Page 16)

“The evidence considered above seems to warrant the conclusion that the rabbis, the successors of the Pharisees, excluded The Wisdom of Ben Sira from the Jewish canon late in the first century a.d., but they nonetheless continued to quote the book, on occasion, paradoxically, even as Sacred Scripture.” (Page 20)

  • Title: The Wisdom of Ben Sira
  • Authors: Patrick W. Skehan and Alexander A. Di Lella
  • Series: Anchor Yale Bible (AYB)
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1995
  • Pages: 620

Patrick W. Skehan was professor of Semitic languages at the Catholic University of America.

About Alexander A. Di Lella

Alexander A. Di Lella is professor of Old Testament at The Catholic University of America.


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Print list price: $55.00
Save $5.01 (9%)