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

By Ibolya Balla

The e-book of Ben Sira, the longest Jewish knowledge publication, is a mixture of knowledge poems a few 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 family members, together with marriage, kin lifestyles, and in warnings opposed to sexual wrongdoing.This learn examines all teachings bearing on sexuality within the context of relatives relatives and gender matters with a distinct regard to the diversities among the Hebrew unique textual content of the booklet and its Greek translation.

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29 The treatment of widows 105 G o d , as their o n l y true p r o t e c t o r . A s i m i l a r role is attributed to h i m i n P s 68:6 (= 5 i n the N R S V ) as father to the fatherless a n d d e f e n d e r o f w i d o w s . T h i s role is transferred to h u m a n s i n Sir 4 : 1 0 , w h e r e the situa­ t i o n is p r o b a b l y that o f a w o m a n w h o d o e s n o t h a v e a n a d u l t m a l e to s u p p o r t her, b u t p r o b a b l y h a s m i n o r s o n s . T h e r e w a s b e f o r e B e n Sira the c o m m a n d f r o m G o d to p r o t e c t the w e a k a n d n e e d y b y c h a r i t y a n d social j u s t i c e , a n d the e x h o r t a t i o n to fulfil this c o m m a n d t h r o u g h o u t the H e b r e w B i b l e .

97 TRENCHARD, Ben Sira's View, 225, n. 100. 98 SAUER, Jesus Sirach, 285. 28 Respect for fathers and mothers and the treatment of widows the d i s c u s s i o n o f the t e a c h i n g s it is n e c e s s a r y to d e s c r i b e briefly the p o s i t i o n o f a w o m a n t e r m e d n ] t f ? N i n the H e b r e w B i b l e a n d t h e n i n the p r e s e n t c o n t e x t . T o u n d e r s t a n d t h e status o f a w o m a n i n Israel, at least the a s p e c t s r e l e v a n t h e r e , it n e e d s to b e e m p h a s i z e d that i n I s r a e l ' s p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i e t y a f e m a l e c h i l d b e l o n g e d o n l y t e m p o r a r i l y to the f a m i l y into w h i c h s h e w a s b o r n .

COLLINS, "Marriage, Divorce, and Family," 140, points out that in Lev 19:3 the commandment to honour one's father and mother fol­ lows the command to be holy. 3 YARBROUGH, "Parents and Children," 5 1 . 4 FONTAINE, "The Sage in Family and Tribe," 161. 34 Teachings on sons and daughters 5 whose obligation was to instruct and discipline them, including passing on the knowledge of the history of Israel and of the commandments. Vari­ ous forms of the term "sons" are used in the passages according to which the children learnt the significance of certain events or institutions.

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