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

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Nov 18 17:03:37 EST 2006

On 11/18/06, Peter Kirk wrote:

> 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.

The parallel text is computer analyzed.  Kraft is listed as the person
in charge of the Center for Computer Analysis of Texts at:
So there is an editing process but this editing process is of the results of
computer analysis.

> > ... 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
> http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/Taylor-Schechter/GOLD/Or1102/TS12_867.html,
> 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.

I think we agree.  This was a book.  The other side contains portions of Ben
Sira 4.  When understood to be folded together, these are shown to be
consecutive pages in a book.

> 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.

I don't think we have these verses extant in any fragment so far identified of
Ben Sira, nor in quotations in other texts (the Talmud, for example).

Yitzhak Sapir

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