Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Jewish Talmud Calls the Book of Sirach Scripture


Albert C. Sundberg, Jr. -a Protestant scholar- says the Talmud in a few places calls the book of "Sirach" scripture. He also mentions that the D.C.'s were circulated among the Pharisees, as seen below from the website:


There are evidences of a continued use of this apocryphal literature in rabbinic literature of later times. Sirach is quoted three times in the Talmud as scripture. It is twice quoted with the introductory formula, "for so it is written in the Book of Ben Sira." [ Hagigh 13a; Yebamoth 63b; cf., Erubin 54a ]. Ben Sira is also sometimes quoted as "Writings" when the rabbis were proof-texting, e.g., "This matter is written in the Pentateuch, as written..., repeated in the Prophets, as written..., mentioned a third time in the Hagiographa, as written, (here Sirach 12.15 is quoted), it was learned in the Mishnah,..." [ Baba Kamma 92b ]. Pfeiffer (1941:66) tells us that the Hebrew text of Sirach was still being copied as late as the twelfth century C.E. It is cited by name in Sanhedrin 100b ( Yeb. 63c ), which quotes several verses. According to L. Israel (1905:390) single verses appear in: Yer. Ber. 11b; Yer. Hag. 77c; Yer. Ta'an. 66d; Hag. 13a; Niddah 16b; Gen. R. 8, 10, 73; Lev. R. 33; Tan. Wayishlah 8; Tan., Mikkez. 10; Tan. Hukkat. 1; etc.

Origen knew a Hebrew name for the books of Maccabees, "Sar beth Sabnai el." [Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 6.25.2]. J.E.L. Oulton has observed, "this name is interesting as evidence of the existence in the third century of the Hebrew original of I Maccabees..." Jerome obtained Hebrew texts of Sirach, I Maccabees, Tobit and Judith in Aramaic ("Chaldee"), presumably from Jews, which he, with the help of a hired expert in Aramaic and Hebrew, translated into Latin. Marx (1921) noticed that Moses ben Nahman (Nachmanides, ca. 1194-1270 C.E.) knew and used an Aramaic (!) text of Wisdom, citing 7.5-8, 17-21 in the introduction and 1.7, 8, 11 on Deut. 20.14 in his Commentary on the Pentateuch; he also noted some acquaintance with the story of Bel and the Dragon and Judith by Jews in Spain in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

3 comments:

David said...

It's true. :) I'll see if I can dig up the specifics when I have time, but I've read in several places previously that many modern scholars now think, as a result of these and other facts, that, contrary to early Jewish belief which prompted them to drop the deuterocanonicals as Greek addendum, most of the deutercanonicals in fact were originally written in Hebrew/Aramaic.

Jnorm said...

Cool,Thanks David!

Lvka said...

There are also icons in the Talmud. :-)

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