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456 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
A FURTHER FRAGMENT OF BEN SIRA.
The fragment reproduced in the following pages, line by
line and page by page, was discovered lately in the Cairo
Collection of Cambridge University Library. The MS.
(called for convenience sake MS. C) consists of two leaves,
paper, measuring 14-3 x 10 cm. The middle sheet or sheets
have gone, and a part of the second leaf is torn off; this
defect is indicated by dots. The writing is in a large hand,
but its decipherment is sometimes rendered difficult by the
fact that the sign l may stand for vaw, yod, and even resh.
There is also no sufficient distinction between beth and
kaph and between resh and daleth. The number of lines
on each page and of words in each line is very small ; thus
the fragment covers on the whole not more than some
twenty-five verses. Yet the MS. is not without its interest
for students of the Apocrypha. In the first place it bears
evidence to the existence of a third MS. of Ben Sira. This
fact adds a further proof of its authenticity ; for it is not
to be supposed that the Jews would apply themselves to the
preparation of so many copies of a fresh translation of a
book which was already for centuries under the cloud of
heresy '. This can only be explained on the hypothesis that
there still lingered a few copies of Ben Sira dating from
the times when the fatal sayings of R. Akiba (second century)
and R. Joseph (fourth century), relegating Ben Sira's work
to the class of D^D , "iBD, had not yet acquired general force.
1 Since the above lines in the text were written two more leaves of
Ben Sira have been discovered by Prof. I. Levi of Paris, one of which
probably comes from MS. A of the Cambridge edition, whilst the other
seems to come from the same codex which is the subject of this article.
A FURTHER FRAGMENT OF BEN SIRA 457
This prestige of antiquity not only protected the old
codices themselves, but also encouraged the bolder spirits
to prepare new copies. And these have come down to
us in the shape of the three MSS. which we now possess.
More important even is the fact that the fragment testifies
to the diversity of the MSS. of Ben Sira in the original
language. Such a possibility was suggested by me in
my introduction to the Cambridge volume of the Ben Sira
fragments, where I wrote : " It is also to be noticed that
MS. A shows a closer agreement with the Syriac than
MS. B, whilst the latter in many cases corresponds with
the Greek as against the Syriac, we have very few instances
of this kind in MS. A, which fact points to various classes
of MSS. existing in the Hebrew itself" (p. 11). MS. C
confirms this hypothesis. For, as will be seen, the first
leaf of MS. C overlaps a portion of MS. A. But whilst
the latter (MS. A) agrees in most cases with the Syriac
against the Greek, the former (MS. C) corresponds largely,
as pointed out in the notes, with the Greek against the
Syriac. The doublets, as well as many of the glosses, in
MS. B will now be easily accounted for by these two
families of MSS., with which the scribe of that MS. was
thoroughly acquainted, and the differences between which
he carefully noted and inserted in his copy. The assump-
tion of a Persian version, with a whole string of romantic
incidents accompanying the scribe who constantly corrected
himself, will now, I hope, die for good. But it will also
be seen that the variants of the two families of MSS., the
one mostly followed by the Greek the other by the Syriac,
went further than offering mere differences of a single letter
or a word. In some instances they involved whole verses
or lines, giving, as in the case of v. 11 (see note ad loc),
such different wording as to present almost a new meaning.
This is to be ascribed to the arbitrary manner of the older
scribes, who unfortunately were, as it would seem, not only
mere copyists, but occasionally tried their hands also at
composition, altering or re-casting, for reasons of style or
458 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
of a more suitable metaphor, now and then a word or even
a whole verse.
Interesting, however, as these divergences are, the two
MSS. are even more remarkable for their points of agree-
ment, which show that they all spring from the same
source. For of the fourteen verses which MS. C gives us
on the first leaf, and which also occur in MS. A, only three
(iv. 30, 31, and v. 11) materially deviate from each other,
whilst in the remaining eleven the wording and the whole
phraseology are almost everywhere the same, only offering
such slight verbal differences as are unavoidable in two
MSS. Had we here to deal with different translations, it
is impossible that they should agree as closely as they do.
Those who are inclined to doubt this obvious fact, should
take the trouble to compare these same fourteen verses
in the three Hebrew versions we possess of Ben Sira, viz.
by Ben Zeeb, Frankel, and Joshua Duklo, and he will see
at once the difference between independent translations
and families of MSS. differing but descendent from the
same common origin. In the first case he will, before a
closer reading, hardly be aware that they represent the
same work, whilst in the latter it will take him some time
before he detects their differences 1 .
The new MS. presents a good many difficulties. A point
requiring special study is that of the various omissions in it,
which fact makes it widely different from all the known
versions, as well as from the Hebrew original. Particularly
strange is the sudden transition from chap. v. 13 to
xxxvi. 19. This phenomenon could only be accounted
for by assuming that the codex from which these leaves
come never represented a complete MS. of Ben Sira, but
merely formed an abridged collection of extracts from Ben
Sira, prepared by the scribe for some special purpose of
his own. That such Ben Sira extracts existed is clear from
1 See also the symposium of the various attempts at reconstructing the
original of Sirach given by Messrs. Cowley and Neubauer in their edition
of the Oxford Fragments (p. xviii).
A FURTHEE FRAGMENT OF BEN SIRA 459
the only long continuous quotation from Ben Sira in the
Talmud (Sanhedrin, 100 b), consisting of verses distributed
in our versions in the following way : xxvi. 1-4, ix. 8, 9, xi.
29-34, and vi. 10. These verses belonged to "the good
things " of Ben Sira which one might "interpret " or " use for
homiletical purposes " (see Jewish Quarteblt Review, III,
pp. 692 and 701 n. 52). And thus it is not impossible that
an " interpreter " prepared another collection of " the good
things " of Ben Sira, with similar disregard of order and
This is the only answer suggesting itself to me at
present. Since we can still hope for more discoveries of
leaves from the same MS. we may safely defer the further
discussion of this problem to some future occasion. I
will, however, use the present occasion for the purpose of
reproducing some of the contents of two Genizah fragments
discovered lately, and having some bearing upon the Ben Sira
question. The one consists of two leaves, paper (21x18 cm.),
written in an ancient hand. It is provided with vowel
points and represents a collection of proverbs and sayings.
The style is highly Paitanic, and it is composed in rhymes.
I am unable to identify it, but it can hardly be doubted
that the author was acquainted with the Wisdom of Ben
Sira. This will easily be seen by a comparison of the page
given here with the contents of Ben Sira xii. 2-5 and xiii.
Of course, the language is almost obliterated in the pro-
duction of our Paitan, with whom, as it seems, rhyme and
elegance of language were of supreme importance. He also
interspersed it with verses of Proverbs, which he likewise
gives in his own language, but his use of Ben Sira is
evident in many a line to every careful reader. The text
runs as follows : —
.•onan fa ynhi cnan ru-.n bat jcmmo^ jib»n-i ^npa \-in bn
nTin rniD rv® : np-ip bv win iTiy 1 b>n ^na : it bt6 e»i im paipn
.•vrrua* bni diw xwy* tew ::np w byo rro n$n mitsi :an yton
npno hm xvkt^ b[pn]) pmno "wv nrnDttt? i>am by pre hn
460 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
Kim vnys oi>a» inni : ^bino b "-aai i>phpo i[ h btj] : iniprrv ^sni
ii> mm sni' naw inrn : nanaa iuipoi jr6 "pavn -wjj j W>inD topj
: d^bhd into ptyiyo '•jym 5 typnwa into peny iwi j nayinb
nk>d t6a[T]ty$?n nnj> :win< vjb »3j>n "armi :nw wb "iw nniK
nunoa nwa wro noijjD nana b*i : in" 1 -qk> dki iiw n^ inni ; jnoi
n>B>N-\i : DTm ns nw aion n w> • n["»a]nna t anna y-i'a : nm
• cyan n« na^ nxon
The second fragment consists also of two leaves, paper,
written in all possible hands, and containing jottings from
all departments of Bible and Talmud, and its commentaries
(Arabic). It further gives various titles of books, Midrashim,
Halachoth, and Responsa of the Geonim which seem to
have been in the possession of the writer. The largest
entry is a long passage from B. T. Megillah, 16 a and b.
Those concerning us in this place are (1) the words
n^ainon D^pinon D^e>»n b k-vd ja ^e>o. (a) the words
(in a different square hand) nniion / "ON "»B>K nai
-iDiD jiDm mto Dioan ■» '•a m '•aaia }» / yny "pny nsi / otwa
Then come two lines from the first Mishnah in Berachoth
followed by the words ibd "nan / Q^nan deoa nrvnon conan
niN^ r N j^vin on runs / nox idio jiDni mto oioan ••i^an
/ nrmyo nx uitab nan n^« nnj&] / Tin was ^aa nyiann
mt< praa / nnamn dtwa nnaien / [dv nna -on praa otwa nnaon
Dt?M Of nna. The words in square brackets are in cursive.
The writer of these lines evidently possessed the ">tan 'd
(see Harkavy's edition of this work in his Studien wnd
Mittheilungen, V, p. 180), and I have no doubt that an
examination of the Arabic fragments in the Cairo collection
will greatly enrich our knowledge of the Saadya literature
in general, and perhaps even restore to us the missing
portions of the '•'fan 'd.
Lastly, I give here the contents of a third fragment
found only a few days ago. It is written on a scrap of
paper (87 x 87 cm.) in Hebrew letters, but the language is
Arabic. Both the copy and the translation were prepared
A FURTHER FRAGMENT OF BEN SIRA 46 1
for me by Mr. H. Pass and the Rev. Dr. Arendzen, to whom
I give my best thanks. To judge from the term NpD^ this
fragment must come from a MS. containing a commentary
to the B. T. Sanhedrin (see especially 100 b) composed by
one of the " earlier authorities " as R. Isaac of Fez or
R. Chananel of Kairowan. As an explanation of the
words of R. Joseph the fragment is of little importance.
But it is highly interesting on account of the testimony it
bears to the existence of two works attributed to Ben Sira,
by the one of which — that containing the " vain stories " —
is probably meant the NTD ;yj NITONS^ (see A. Epstein,
DHinTi nvoionpc, p. 119 sq.), whilst the other, the d"3 "bvo,
probably refers to our collection of proverbs known to
R. Saadyah under the same title of fb&Q (see Harkavy,
ibid., p. 200, and Prof. I. Levi, Revue des Etudes Juives,
XXXV, p. %%). The word o^pinon " the proper ones," in
connexion with Ben Sira in the preceding fragment, is
probably also meant to differentiate it from the N"VD p 1BD.
Nrot6 't'S d^d naoa wsn • o^wnn onsDi toipn sjk 61a
bap nynpfo a!?y ^ivn3 rb rojn vb \zb rb&m nxpnyx^ .tidbo
■TB nunp ni» vb) dwd new (?) pnxb n^n nt>d p ibdi v\oy n
'a jnb^k p ri hivo ina inpton^ idbd t>j jto jk mt6
■b&o (?) "va trvo p ibd }n fop «n»a htkb «b ™n[b] (?) nnxBKna
: (?) DiTa nx-ipfo rtoi nyaw axix d.tb kvd p ^pd j«f» n*pd p
" Because they corrupt faith, and lead astray one who has
not understanding in the roots of the knowledge of the
law. R. Joseph says : ' Also the book of Ben Sira is joined
to the DiJiD nsD, and it is not permitted to read it, because
even if it does not corrupt faith yet it occupies part of the
time in its vain stories in which (stories) there is no
advantage.' He says : ' Behold the ntd p 1BD is different
from the N"VD p "6e>D, because in the ntd p ^e>» there is
profitable doctrine and it is permitted to read them.' "
VOL. XII. H h
462 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
Leaf 1, redo.
Tin bvt 30 • -j rrasn n« l pspn iv. 23"
4 "jntoya msnm 2 7rpaa nn«D
rnwh niawiQ *fp Tin *?« 31
ha v. 4 • *rrnBp acn njm
*?n 5 : win qid« pa 8 •» "a
py rpDn 1 ? n:fl an ^ rrrrho
d"q-i mow 6" • py *?y
♦ 7 n^Di vYirmy an 1 ? vom
owi *?jn *ioy *\&\ o^m "o 6°
y\vh -intfn *?n 7 s • 8 imti iw
• 9 dv 1 ? dv» -oynn Ski v^m
1 Cf. Deut. xv. 7. A fDsn.
4 Agrees with the Gr. A ata3 agrees with Syr. B. T. Pesachim, 49 b :
'idi nan n"» F]N taw Din n» no would suggest that ^a was the original
reading. Cf. cita and n*0 in Ps. xxii. 17.
3 A -|rOH , >m wvnni ilim. The inonoi, cf. Diet. s. irtD, may perhaps
account for the Gr. (pavrafftoKoiraiv, confusing it with mn. It is, however,
possible that originally it read inarmi.
4 A jno -pro nsispi nnp 1 ? nmnD "jr agrees with the Syr. Our text here
agrees more with the Gr. For rrnDp we must probably read nsiEp or
s rvrr agrees with Gr. Cf. T. J. Abodah Zarah, 40 d, p rr 1 ) nnm. See
also Stade's Heb. Wdrterbuch, p. 135, about the reading of the LXX in Job
vi. ai. For l"> read ■>). A rmv agrees with the Syr.
6 A to» agrees with Syr. Verse 4 (1) is omitted as in the Gr.
' A O'n ram. Cf. notes, ad foe.
8 Am''i ton. Cf. notes, ad loc.
• A uv to* DVO.
A FURTHER FRAGMENT OF BEN SIEA 463
Leaf 1, verso.
Dp3 * rUDI 1D3K fcW D1NHC T v. 7°
W? rrm Tin ^m 9 • neon
• 2 ^nt» W *]br\ bw rm
p3a rrn n "-pn mrr
"ptoi ram rwcm
dm 1 a • 4 nroa rcyn my
d«i 5 713m nny -ynw w
T03 13 ' "pD Sy ^T &w pw
dim pcta main fa p^p
7 in "nDsnao ovd" 1 fn 13 (1) • 6 ib^do
1 See the Gr. A Dm.
2 A rfrow yn rmci. The rfrnrc, however, can only have slipped in by-
mistake from iv. 26, whilst the bib of our text must also be ascribed
to a clerical error for tan, due to confusion with the first clause.
s A -pn tp iron "]rcn.
4 A D3HD atrn rrn "p*ai p»rrt "\no» rpn. The rrano of our text is fairly
guaranteed by the 070*17 of various Gr. MSS., among them MS. 248 (see
Fr.). In this-case the verse would contain the advice to remain composed
when receiving suddenly a good message: cf. Exod. xlv. 26, whilst the
J133 may have been suggested by Ps. cxii. 6 joj . . . nsioco. More pro-
bable, however, seems to me that we should read npoca (for r»io«?3
the scribe thinking of Prov. xv. 30 and xxv. 25), which would mean
a "good listening" or proper attention: cf. PerekS. Meir, where pl»n nr>3ir
is counted as one of the things by which the knowledge of the Torah is
acquired. Below viii. 9 D'nto [nlnTOim. After "rv>yi we must supply the
word im or D'CM, but it should be noticed that the horizontal part of the
resh is so short that it can be taken for a waw and read "nN2\ For the rro:
(MS. 248 &p$j)v) in the second clause see Job xlii. 7. I am inclined to think
that the text of A in this place is the more original, but was altered at an
early period with the purpose perhaps of giving it a more Biblical look.
5 A "pi. * See Diet. s. td'jD, but probably a corruption of lrtDO as in A.
* See Ecclus. below, xxxvi. 19, as well as British Museum Fragments
in the Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. XII, p. 8, gloss to the first line,
and the Rev. G. Margoliouth's notes there, p. 24 sq.
H h a
464 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
Leaf a, recto.
1 .... © , n»M xxv. 8 b
2 -.L— -j ny
n piwm ban
3 11273 Clin
.... 5 ^i n3D ^d 13
id vb\ run ^ n 1 ?
-row hen sn 17
nbyn aizr» u*sn p 18 ♦ 6 m l ?
rayo 19 * rnNn» 7 inyta w^ai
fma noa njro ron
9 nhym 20 • 8 rrhy Vkp Ntain
1 Perhaps we should supply «^i vmch tow. Cf. Versions.
* Supply 1300. Cf. Is. iii. 5 and Prov. xii. 9.
' For the last two lines the Syr. In the minor tractate, Derech Erez
Rabbah, I, we read dvbdi . . . pwk jtw» nsaiN diwo rrte am nnDDn by Nan
«mnn »rt. The parallel passage given in the Ydttcut to Deut. xxii. 10
(I, § 931) reads iiona umrtn *A otoo . . . p*A '1 dtoo rri» am man "h? Nan
ittp nwi . We perhaps thus read and supply our text [T33 ds]d TON Vga
inn' iinm Tnoa srnn.
* Supply nana. The quotation in B. T. Shabbath, 11 a, has aNa nSi aNa to
a 1 ?. Most parallel passages however have abn nan (see Jewish Quabteely
Review, III, p. 986, and p. 697 sq.).
5 Supply [jten nr]ia. See Versions and the references given in the
* The tod agrees with Syr., whilst the ail 1 ) corresponds with the (Jr. : cf.
Ryssel. Perhaps we should read ana, that is as if a bear met him. Cf.
Gen. Rabbah, chap. 87, § 4: a"nn riN "[a man "jwb "I will incite against
thee the bear" (the wife of Potiphar). See also v. 19, &c. The horizontal
stroke of the resh of itiw is so long that it is not likely that there was
much writing if any following it.
7 In the sense of reason, cause ; comp. the phrase movd vhi NnaVna
(B. T. Gittin, 14 a), and see Rabb. Diet.
* Agrees more with the Gr. • rrt&pa, see Heb. Diet.
A FURTHER FRAGMENT OF BEN SIRA 465
Leaf 2, verso.
TW& xxv. 20
1 b^n btn 21
nb & bw n
3 rroa 13 22 • 2 1
4 rW?aa ston nwo
6 o^T p^-i 23 ° • nWn ....
n 1 ? hen o'o-q 6 p^w . .
rwwa 24 • rfen r»« iwn
wa nf&ai 7 py nbnn
"nm* nnio hen xxvi. i • tit
: 8 d^dd vn"> noDm nSyn
rhv^b jann 9 Vti row* %
1 Agrees with the Gr. See Ryssel and cf. A vi. a.
• Perhaps we should supply -|[innn «S]. Cf. Syr. See also A xiii. 5
text and notes. It should be noticed that the vertical stroke of the
daleth is somewhat longer than usual, so that it may represent a final
kapk. In this case we should supply -j[jtj DTOn vti\.
' Read with the Gr. mns, cf. Ryssel. Or perhaps [wn tod] rn»a } cf. Is.
ix. 17. Syr. mas.
4 Agrees with the Gr., Syr. nwprra or nSffiDO.
5 See B. T. Arackin, 5 b, for this phrase.
• Supply pVfflDi.
T Cf. the phrase nwoTD rtnn . . . twi rvibp rtnn, and so on in Derech Erez
Zuta, III, ed. Tawrogi. For the second clause see Num. xvii. 26.
• The Rabbinic quotation Sanhedrin, 100 b, has iedd . . . no» ton. The
■1DD01 of our text points to an agreement with the Gr. (*af).
• Cf. Prov. xxxi. 18. See also A xiv. 11 JtOTii