Transmission and transformation of Ben Sira's poetic language: the case of Sir 41:1-2

Noam Mizrahi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to study the interaction between linguistic, text-critical and poetic aspects of the book of Sirach by examining Sir 41:1-2 as a case study. Ben Sira's original Hebrew is a highly stylized idiom, richly allusive and grammatically sophisticated. As such, it posed a formidable challenge for subsequent copyists and translators. Such tradents, however, should not be viewed as second-rate, dimmed reflections of the original. On the contrary, they devised a variety of clever ways for representing key features of Ben Sira's poetic language. Indeed, the solutions supplied by the direct textual witnesses often betray poetic creativity that accommodates traditional conventions and adapts them to later literary sensitivities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-358
Number of pages28
JournalDeuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Yearbook
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Walter de Gruyter Inc.


  • Ben Sira
  • Cairo Genizah
  • Hebrew poetry
  • Literary translation
  • Masada

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Ecclesiasticus -- Language, style
  • Ecclesiasticus -- XLI, 1-2 -- Criticism, Textual
  • Hebrew poetry -- History and criticism


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