[b-hebrew] Ben Sira's name

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sun Nov 19 20:23:04 EST 2006

On 11/19/06, Peter Kirk wrote:

> I wonder if the Syriac 'SYR' here might be more original than the Hebrew
> SYR'. 'ASYR of course means "captive" and might imply that the author's
> grandfather had been a captive in Babylon. The link with "thorn" is
> interesting, but the priestly surname you mention is not SYR but QWC, so
> why the change?

In the Talmuds he is called at times Ben Sira and at times Bar Sira.  The
Talmud Yerushalmi calls him "br syrh" (Hagigah 2:1).  It is possible then
that his original name (and perhaps the book originally) was Aramaic, and
hence the shift from Hebrew qwc to Aramaic syr or perhaps it is just a
different family name along the same lines as qwc.  Segal suggests the
initial Alef is a vowel letter as is "normal" in Syriac and Aramaic, and that
this was later interpreted as "captive".

Yitzhak Sapir

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