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The name "Sira"[edit]

"The surname Sira means "the thorn" in Aramaic. The Greek form, Sirach, adds the letter chi. This was fairly common practice, as in the name in Luke 3:26 or Hakeldamach in Acts 1:19."

Luke 3:26 refers to Iōsēph which really obvious scribal errors have given as Iōsēch in some manuscripts, this isn't an example of an chi being used for an aleph as in ben Sira. Although the damach for dama does look like something similar. Kuratowski's Ghost 7 July 2005 23:18 (UTC)

Midrash on ben-Sira's parentage[edit]

There does exist one later Midrash which quotes an account of the prophet Ezekiel taking a bath in Babylonia, whereupon a small amount of his sperm remains in the bathwater which impregnates the next bather; this is quoted as the parentage of Ben Sira. This text raises many difficulties (not to mention simply the technical improbability of such an event): the chronology here would put Ben Sira several centuries earlier than the general account; too early, in fact, for some of the Hebrew found in the text. As this is one isolated Midrash found only in later sources and not in the Talmud, most Judaic scholars would not hold it as binding. One possible non-literal interpretation of this Midrash would be as follows: in Judaism, Ezekiel is considered to have the "weakest" prophetic experience, bordering on merely "divine inspiration" ('ruach hakodesh') such as the visions of Daniel (who was not a 'prophet' per se). While Ben Sira is considered a work of wisdom, Judaism rejects the notion of his work being "divinely inspired" (and therefore it is excluded from Biblical canon). Thus, the Midrashic passage could simply be saying "Ben Sira's level of divine inspiration could not even be considered illegitimate offspring of a lower prophet!"

I leave it up to others to decide whether to quote the above difficult Midrash and, if so, whether to quote my reading of it (which as of now remains my own conjecture). If this is considered a sufficiently minority opinion to merit leaving it out entirely, I'd certainly understand.

Lastly, whether Ben Sira is Jeshua son of Shim'on or vice versa, it makes sense why he came to be known as simply "the son of Sira": the name Jeshua fell out of favor among Jews with the advent of Christianity; and the name Shim'on was so common at the time that it would be dropped. For example, the Talmudic scholars known as "Ben Zoma", "Ben Azai", and "Ben Beteirah" were all Shim'ons. (But again, that's my own speculation, so you can include it if you like, or leave it out.)

This comment has piqued my curiosity. What is it that one must have in order to be a true prophet, other than "divine inspiration?" --Reuben 00:02, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

A prophet must be tested by repeatedly predicting an unlikely future event with accuracy.

In response to the author above I present the possibility that the current Ben Sira is a knockoff of the original. This would agree with those who see it as a compilation, and its apparent agreement with other text.

Request for page expansion[edit]

I am removing the request for expansion tag that was placed at the top of the page in January 2007. I searched the Wiki central list of requests for expansion and found no remarks there concerning this page; nor does there seem to be an explanation of the request on this discussion page. The current article seems of reasonable length and detail. If somebody wants it expanded, of course feel free to re-tag the article, but please also explain in what way you believe it should be expanded. (Sorry if there already is an explanation of the request and I just missed it.) - Practical123 09:49, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

consensus to move page. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:19, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Ben SiraSirach — More common name. That, or to Ecclesiasticus. —SigPig |SEND - OVER 21:46, 10 February 2008 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • This is about the book, not its author. I would prefer Ecclesiasticus. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:20, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Support move to Sirach. This is the title used in the CCC and by most of my bibles which include the deuterocanon. Carl.bunderson (talk) 00:14, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - Ecclesiasticus preferred, but Sirach is fine. Don't be thrown off by the title "known by some Christians", either, as this is modern canon only in Christian circles. The Evil Spartan (talk) 05:18, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - although I prefer Ecclesiasticus, Sirach is fine. --Aphaia (talk) 21:49, 17 February 2008 (UTC)


Any additional comments:

I'm poking my head in from WP:RM. There seems to be a consensus for a move, but not for which of the two titles are preferred. Please clarify where the page should be moved through further discussion. Vassyana (talk) 11:50, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Septen: From your comment, you feel that Sirach is used of the author, and not of the book. This is why you do not want it moved to Sirach?

Spartan: Why do you prefer Ecclesiasticus to Sirach?

Carl.bunderson (talk) 01:07, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

I am not Spartan but he seems to share an idea. I prefer Ecclesiasticus, since it obviously refers to the Book and only. In case of Sirach, it is unclear. It could refer either the book or the author. --Aphaia (talk) 21:50, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
But look at the article. It discusses both the book and its author. If we were to split the article into one discussing the author, and one discussing the book, it would make sense to have Ecclesiasticus for the book and Sirach for the author. (Tentatively. I want to look up in my books whether its best to call him Sirach or Ben Sira until I commit). But if we're simply moving the article, without making this change, I don't think it makes sense to move it to Ecclesiasticus, since it discusses the author as well as the book. Carl.bunderson (talk) 21:55, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
I have a different impression. The lead sentence (and para) refers only the book, while the first section of this article treats the author. It is common to refer to the author even briefly in such a theme, like book review, so I don't take it about an article "on both the book and its author". The essential topic of this article looks to me the book, not its author who is eventually described to some extent here.--Aphaia (talk) 22:08, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Hm, I still think it is an article about both, because: yes, any article is going to talk about its author, but normally the author has his own article. For example, Book of Jeremiah discusses the author, because yeah, it makes sense to do so. But Book of Jeremiah is not the article for the prophet Jeremiah because he has his own article. But since Ben Sira doesn't have his own article, this article is his article, as well as that of the book. Does that not make sense to you/others? (And having thought that through, maybe we should just make separate articles for each of them.) Carl.bunderson (talk) 22:16, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

For the information of those who take part in this discussion: The French Wikipedia has two distinct articles: fr:Ben Sira on the author and fr:Siracide on the book.

Whatever the decision on a possible split of the article, I suggest that either the whole or otherwise the part concerning the book should retain the present title, since it refers to the Hebrew original. Please refer to the section I added on "Title and versions".

Dampinograaf (talk) 20:55, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

  • YesY Move completed Maxim(talk) 02:11, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Further discussion[edit]

For whoever concerned, I wasn't entirely sure there was consensus for the move and would be open to it being moved back or somewhere else or kept at Sirach, pending further discussion. And your addition to the article was really good Dampino. Carl.bunderson (talk) 19:45, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the appreciation. I feel the move was executed too hastily, and with very little serious reason. Move should be reverted.Dampinograaf (talk) 21:29, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I think the article should be separated as it is in the French WP. Thank you for pointing that out, by the way. And I think the author's article should be "Ben Sira", and the book's should be "Sirach". I don't think we should call the book's article Ben Sira because then what are we going to call his article? And I think the argument that we should call the book's article Ben Sira because that was the Hebrew original is weak; it doesn't seem to have been known until his grandson translated it into Greek. And it Greek it is known as Sirach. It is known through the LXX, isn't accepted as canonical by Judaism, so why should we use the less-used Hebrew name for it, when we can use the common Greek name? Also, I think it is better to used Sirach than Ecclesiasticus, because Ecclesiasticus is Latin, so I highly doubt the Eastern Christians know it as this; ergo Sirach is less embedded with POV. Please everyone, let me know what you think about these ideas, and why. Carl.bunderson (talk) 04:35, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Well its been nearly a week, and no one's commented, so I'm going ahead with it. Carl.bunderson (talk) 21:00, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Hm. I thought "Ecclesiasticus" was much clearer to show it means the Book, but your argument sounds fine, regarding to NPOV. As for Eastern Church view, while there is no overwhelming consistency, we can refer that, which is working on Eastern Orthodox Canonical English Translation of the Bible, refers to the book as "Wisdom of Sirach [1]". --Aphaia (talk) 17:42, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for the info, Aphaia; that's interesting. Carl.bunderson (talk) 18:54, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Chadwick's claim?[edit]

I don't really understand what the bit about Chadwick's claim is. Is this misquoted? We shall compare the verses: Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (NIV) Sirach 51:27 "See for yourselves! I have labored only a little, but have found much." ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:04, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't have access to Chadwick's book, could someone who does check this reference? --Bejnar (talk) 21:42, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
You may check the Chadwick text at page 28. Chadwick does say "directly quotes". The two sections do compare in a more favorable light if placed in context: Sirach 51:23-27 is "Draw near to me, you who are uneducated, and lodge in the house of instruction. Why do you say that you are lacking these things, and why do you endure such great thirst? I opened my mouth and said, Acquire wisdom for yourselves without money. Put your neck under a yoke, and let your souls receive instruction, for it is to be found close by. See for yourselves! I have labored only a little, but have found much rest." with Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." In footnote 2 to that comparison, Chadwick also compares Matthew 6:12 "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." (KJV) with Sirach 28:2 "Forgive your neighbor a wrong, and then, when you petition, your sins will be pardoned." which seems a much more apt comparison. --Bejnar (talk) 22:36, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Sources and citations[edit]

I have just spent some time cleaning up the citations, and where possible cite checking for the principle cited. I note that some of the text is directly from the public domain "Sirach, The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of" entry in the 1901-1906 Jewish Encyclopedia. I also note that in the New World Encyclopedia entry under "Ben Sira" it says: New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. Apparently this was done as of September 2007; after which point the two articles diverge. I was unable to check the source: "Amidah", entry in the Encyclopedia Judaica, Keter Publishing. I am not sure what private prayer has do with this article, except for, perhaps, the unanswered prayer that Philippe Guillaume suggests helps date the work. I note that it was added in an edit of 18 May 2003 by RK. I am tempted to leave that source out, but will let any of you provide some help regarding it before I do. --Bejnar (talk) 21:42, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Why it is excluded by protestants[edit]

23: [30] This man shall be punished in the streets of the city, and he shall be chased as a colt: and where he suspected not, he shall be taken.

[31] And he shall be in disgrace with all men, because he understood not the fear of the Lord.

This means Jesus Christ is not the son of god (the lord, a talking fire) but IS jesum christum dominum nostrum (god the creator) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:09, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Removed: sentence on Jewish & Protestant rejection of Sirach's canonicity[edit]

I removed the following sentence:

That Sirach was originally written in Hebrew may be of some significance for the biblical canon. The book was accepted into the canon of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible by Catholicism and Eastern Orthdoxy but not by Judaism or Protestantism, apparently on the basis that no Hebrew original was thought to exist at the time the Jewish Canon was closed.[1]

For these reasons:

1) There is no reason given to think that the Jews were unaware of the Hebrew-original of Sirach at the time of the formation of their canon (late first century). Indeed, it seems likely that they were aware of it, given the dates of the Hebrew manuscripts mentioned in the article.

2) The source cited says nothing about Sirach on page 241. Presumably the correct citation is to page 222:

Decisive for Schechter, however, was the fact that Ben Sira, while not included in the later canon of the Jewish Bible, was cited extensively by rabbis in the classic period of rabbinic Judaism (circa AD 200-500) and was often quoted in the Talmud and in medieval Jewish writings. The rabbis would not, Schechter was convinced, give reference to a book not initially written in Hebrew.

Clearly this is not support for the claim that Jews or Protestants rejected Sirach because they didn't know there was a Hebrew original!

Gmoothart (talk) 16:12, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Please Restore or Make Better.

  1. What is common knowledge to you, is not grounds to remove content. I was only aware of the Greek source.
  2. I heartily encourage you to paraphrase "Decisive" 222 this into the article. It would be a much clearer statement. ` DigDeep4Truth (talk) 05:28, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Idiosyncratic use of italics for book names[edit]

This article italicizes the names of books of the Bible throughout. E.g., Matthew. This is idiosyncratic; such book names are not italicized in standard English nor indeed elsewhere in Wikipedia. Unless anyone has a good reason to leave the italics, I think we should remove them throughout. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rsquire3 (talkcontribs) 13:57, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

What's in a name[edit]

The name Shimon ben Yeshua ben Eliezer ben Sira spans four generations. That is, Shimon was the great-grandson of Sira. If Shimon wrote Ecclesiasticus, why is Sira credited as author? Was Shimon (or Yeshua?) in fact the one who translated the original Hebrew (written by Sira) into Greek? Or was the name Sira used simply out of familial respect? The unnamed translator, in his Prologue, credits his grandfather, Yeshua son of Eliezer, with authorship. And, where is the name, Shimon, found? Exposition of details such as these might help readers sort through a plethora of theories regarding the book. Virgil H. Soule (talk) 15:42, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Please Keep Watch on the Title of this Bible Book[edit]

The Name of the Book Should read, The Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach or "Ecclesiasticus" and no the "Book of", = I've got three Original Bibles open in front of me. NRSV, 1611 Authorized by his Majesty, 1582 Douai Rheims Bible = All three says the title is The Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach

Possible page move[edit]

In order to reach a wider audience, see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Bible#Page move request for Sirach. Dougweller (talk) 11:50, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ See for example the account of Schechter's work in Soskice, Janet (2010) Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Found the Hidden Gospels. London: Vintage, 241