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Document Details :
Title: Sirach 51:13-30 and 11Q5 (=11QPsa) 21.11-22.1
Author(s): REYMOND, Eric D.
Journal: Revue de Qumran
Volume: 23 Issue: 2 Date: numéro 90, 2007
The poem that concludes the Wisdom of Ben Sira, also found in 11Q5 (= 11QPsa) 21.11-22.1, has elicited differing interpretations among critics concerning at least two issues: whether or not the poem should actually be attributed to the Jerusalemite sage who authored his eponymous book of wisdom, and whether or not the poem’s language should be construed as 'erotic'. The essay attempts to determine the likelihood of Ben Sira’s authorship based on an analysis of the poem’s macro- and micro-structures, since, as has been recently demonstrated, there are certain structural characteristics that can be considered typical of Sirach poetry. In addition, the essay analyzes the poem as a coherent whole, in order to assess the context in which the so-called erotic vocabulary occurs. The article concludes that the structure of the poetry, especially its use of parallelism, encourages the identification of Ben Sira as the author of the poem. The erotic dimension to some words and phrases cannot be denied; nor should the poem’s implicit analogy between sexual desire and desire for Wisdom be totally obscured. However, the poem’s overall message or theme discourages the rather extreme interpretations and suggestions proposed by many scholars.