[b-hebrew] The Biblical politics of masculine and feminine

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Sat Nov 18 16:41:53 EST 2006

On 18/11/2006 20:49, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:
> On 11/18/06, Peter Kirk wrote:
>> Thank you, Yitzhak. Maybe Kraft and Tov were embarrassed by the contents
>> of verse 26; otherwise I can't explain their editorial choice. I assume
>> that the main fragment was available to them before 1994 which is the
>> date of the text I was working from.
> I am not sure where Kraft and Tov entered the discussion ...

They are, I understand, the editors of this parallel text you refer to. 
But I did intend to edit the above before sending, because after writing 
it I discovered the reason for their "editorial choice" which was that 
verses 25 and 26 are omitted in the Hebrew text.

> ... but it appears
> to me you are confused.  The parallel hebrew-septuagint text at ccat is
> based probably on the original collection of published Genizah fragments
> that have to do with Ben Sira and which were published decades ago before
> the identification of the triangular fragment as belonging to this collection. ...

But the triangular fragment is irrelevant, because it "Contains portions 
of ben Sira 25.8" and "the text of ben Sira 25.20-21", but not verses 
25-26 or their immediate context. I quoted 25:24 and 26:1 from the main 
part of the image, i.e. T-S 12.727, which seems to have been the text 
which Kraft and Tov used.

> ... While this fragment was identified before the internet and hence before
> the ccat site, the way Genizah fragments are identified and published it
> would have been easy to miss.  This page is apparently the only one
> from the Genizah that contains Ben Sira 25.  I am not familiar with the
> scholarship on the various representatives of Ben Sira in the Genizah.
> One has to study that in order to suggest why these particular verses
> are missing.  However, the Ben Sira 26 page begins approximately
> where the Ben Sira 25 page leaves off, even continuing the exact point at
> the middle of the verse, so it appears to me that they are parts of the
> same manuscript. ...

No, look more carefully. 26:1 follows on directly from 25:24 in the 
middle of a line on the same page, the third line from the bottom of the 
bottom right hand page shown at 
http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/Taylor-Schechter/GOLD/Or1102/AS213_4.html. The 
chapters are separated only by a raised dot. The text continues to the 
middle of 26:2 which is the end of the page (the other half of this 
double page spread is from another place) and then seems to continue in 
the damaged left hand side of the lower image at 
which has the text to the end of 26:3, and then seems to jump 
immediately to 26:13, 15-17, and then (if the caption is correct) to 
36:27. I note that 25:23a is also missing in the Hebrew text; Kraft and 
Tov recognise this as an addition in the Greek (symbol "--+"), but not 
the other omitted verses. They list much of 25:20,21 as not attested 
(presumably the meaning of "[..]"), so confirming that they did not have 
access to the triangular fragment.

> ... The same is true also for the other side which stops
> and continues right in the middle of Ben Sira 4:22/23.  Unlike the earlier
> page which skips a few verses, the Ben Sira 26 page skips whole
> chapters.  In light of this, and this is what I  meant by "editorial choice",
> the author of these pages that were found in the Genizah, or the author
> of the manuscript that was passed down and he eventually copied,
> perhaps left 25:25-26 due to an editorial choice in the Medieval or earlier
> times.
This is indeed possible. But do we have more complete copies of Sirach 
in Hebrew, or anything to prove whether the "missing" verses were in 
fact ever in Hebrew, or whether they are Greek additions? We do know 
from other MSS that the gap between 26:17 and 36:27 was at least partly 
extant in Hebrew, but that does not imply that 25:23a,25-26, 26:4-12,14 
ever were. On the other hand these verses could have been omitted by a 
compiler of selections because of their negative attitude towards women.

As for "editorial choice", we are talking at cross purposes: I am 
talking about the choice of the modern editors, Kraft and Tov, and you 
are talking about the choice of alleged mediaeval editors.

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://speakertruth.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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