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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach

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Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach, one of the books of the Apocrypha, consists of a collection of moral sentences after the manner of the Proverbs of Solomon (Sirach 1-9, 24 comp. with Proverbs 1-9). The work is arranged upon no systematic plan, but abounds in directions relating to religion and human conduct. Wisdom is represented here, as in Proverbs, as the source of human happiness, and the same views of human life, founded on the belief of a recompense, pervade the instructions of this book also, wherein, however, a more matured reflection is perceptible. It is in fact the composition of a philosopher who had deeply studied the fortunes and manners of mankind, and did not hesitate to avail himself of the philosophy of older moralists. It abounds in grace, wisdom, and spirit, although sometimes more particular in inculcating principles of politeness than those of virtue. It is not infrequently marked by considerable beauty and elegance of expression, occasionally rising to the sublimest heights of human eloquence. It has been observed of it by Addison (see Horne's Introd., vol. iv.) that 'it would be regarded by our modern wits as one of the most shining tracts of morality that are extant, if it appeared under the name of a Confucius or of any celebrated Grecian philosopher.'

The author calls himself Jesus, son of Sirach, of Jerusalem, but we know nothing further of him.

The original of the book was Hebrew. Its age is not easily determined; but according to the most probable hypothesis the author lived B.C. 180, and the translator, who was his grandson, B.C. 130.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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