Ben Sira: A Rabbinic Perspective

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Ben Sira’s Praise of the Fathers and panegyric of the high priest Simeon son of Yohanan exemplifies two distinct Jewish genres of priestly glorification. One genre is tales underscoring the twofold role of high priests as both religious agents of the people in the Temple and their leaders in political life. The second category is a short review of world history through a succession of biblical heroes, leading up to the priestly worship in the Jerusalem Temple. The rabbis astutely adopted, imitated and revised these two genres, in order to support the creation of the novel religious culture of the rabbinic era. They depicted the priestly protagonists as early rabbis and transformed the succession of past heroes beginning with Genesis to lead from Sinai to the sages of the Mishnah.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiscovering, Deciphering and Dissenting
Subtitle of host publicationBen Sira Manuscripts after 120 years
EditorsJames K. Aitken, Renate Egger-Wenzel, Stefan C Reif
Place of PublicationBerlin ; Boston
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783110614473
ISBN (Print)9783110601091
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameDeuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Yearbook ; 2018
PublisherDe Gruyter


  • Ben Sira
  • High priest
  • Jerusalem Temple
  • Simeon son of Yohanan


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