Sacred Writings

Ben Sira on Family, Gender, and Sexuality by Ibolya Balla

By Ibolya Balla

The e-book of Ben Sira, the longest Jewish knowledge ebook, is a mix of knowledge poems a couple of personified girl knowledge determine, and of teachings on daily matters together with marriage, relations lifestyles, strength of will, wishes, and sexual promiscuity. Its writer demonstrates an anxiousness concerning concerns of sexuality within the discussions of social kinfolk, together with marriage, kin existence, and in warnings opposed to sexual wrongdoing.This learn examines all teachings relating sexuality within the context of relatives relatives and gender concerns with a unique regard to the diversities among the Hebrew unique textual content of the e-book and its Greek translation.

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The motif of shame is not restricted to teachings about sexual wrongdo­ ing, but appears throughout the book in the context of parents , of one's own wife and above all regarding one's own daughter . Ben Sira also dedicates a lengthy section to matters pertaining to shame in Sir 41:1442:8. Sayings about a variety of women, including prostitutes, adulter­ esses, wives, and daughters, seem to confirm a male point of view regard­ ing both the instructor and the instructed. Kraemer argues that if women had any access to formal education after the exile, including the Hellenistic period, it probably consisted in preparation for marriage.

Skills that would be necessary in adult everyday life included baking (2Sam 13:8), spinning (Ex 35:25, for women) and tend­ ing the sheep (ISam 16:11, for men). See also CULPEPPER, "Education," 23 and YARBROUGH, "Parents and Children," 43-45. 8 Cf. Gen 3:16; 18:19; 21:7; 30:1; Ex 21:5; probably also in Ps 128:3; see HAAG, "Hi," 336; HAAG, Meaning in the Old Testament," 150. 9 With the meaning of the organized community of Israel as a unit; see HAAG, "]3: Meaning in the Old Testament," 151. 10 WRIGHT, "Family," 765.

ARCHER, Her Price is Beyond Rubies, 75-78. COLLINS, Jewish Wisdom, 36, also argues that the universal Jewish educational system became the norm only at the end of the Second Temple period. 17 COLLINS, Jewish Wisdom, 37. As noted in chapter 1, while Ben Sira is not the actual father of the addressee, by identifying himself as a father of the student he assumes the parent's authority in order to lend his teaching a greater power; cf. WRIGHT, "From Generation to Generation," 309-332. ," 104-107. DIJK-HEMMES, "Traces of Women's Texts in the Hebrew Bible," 57.

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