The Failure of Sirach

Reading Acts

Sirach wrote in the period before the events which led to the Maccabean revolt. He is friendly toward the Greeks and optimistic that Jewish people can live alongside their Greek neighbors. Perhaps Israel’s religion can be presented to the nations as a rational philosophy of life, so that the Gentiles would flock to Israel and fulfill the sort of hopes found in Isaiah 2. That Sirach would try to synthesis Wisdom and Law implies that Judaism is facing a crisis between Torah and Wisdom: many of the peculiar laws cannot be made to work with Hellenism.

This kind of apologetic strategy is rarely successful. Sirach could be attacked by more liberal Jewish thinkers as antiquated, and by more conservative thinkers are giving up the heart of Judaism. Hebrew Law never was going to appeal to the Hellenist and factions on either end of the spectrum might think Sirach was wrong…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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