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Parcialmente traduzido. O NOME. Desde essa altura, muitas provs documentais tem vindo a lume, e mostram que o livro foi escrito originalmente em hebraico.
Os primeiros fragmentos de um texto hebraico da Ecclesiastico xxxix, xl, 6 foram trazidos do Oriente para Cambridge, Inglaterra, pela Sra A. Schechter, em Talmudic na Universidade de Cambridge. Cowley e Ad. Estas onze folhas haviam sido descobertas pelo Dr.
As might naturally be anticipated, and indeed it was desirable that it should so happen, the publication of these various fragments gave rise to a controversy as to the originality of the text therein exhibited. At a very early stage in that publication, scholars easily noticed that although the Hebrew language of the fragments was apparently classical, it nevertheless contained readings which might lead one to suspect its actual dependence on the Greek and Syriac versions of Ecclesiasticus.
Whence it manifestly imported to determine whether, and if so, to what extent, the Hebrew fragments reproduced an original text of the book, or on the contrary, simply presented a late retranslation of Ecclesiasticus into Hebrew by means of the versions just named.
Both Dr. Bickell and Professor D. Margoliouth, that is, the two men who but shortly before the discovery of the Hebrew fragments of Ecclesiasticus had attempted to retranslate small parts of the book into Hebrew, declared themselves openly against the originality of the newly found Hebrew text. It may indeed be admitted that the efforts naturally entailed by their own work of retranslation had especially fitted Margoliouth and Bickell for noticing and appreciating those features which even now appear to many scholars to tell in favour of a certain connection of the Hebrew text with the Greek and Syriac versions.
They think that the arguments and inferences most vigorously urged by Professor D. Margoliouth in favour of his view have been disposed of through a comparison of the fragments published in and with those that had appeared at an earlier date, and through a close study of nearly all the facts now available.
They readily admit in the manuscripts thus far recovered, scribal faults, doublets, Arabisms, apparent traces of dependence on extant versions, etc. But to their minds all such defects do not disprove the originality of the Hebrew text, inasmuch as they can, and indeed in a large number of cases must, be accounted for by the very late character of the copies now in our possession. The Hebrew fragments of Ecclesiasticus belong, at the earliest, to the tenth, or even the eleventh, century of our era, and by that late date all kinds of errors could naturally be expected to have crept into the origional language of the book, because the Jewish copyists of the work did not regard it as canonical.
At the same time these defects do not disfigure altogether the manner of Hebrew in which Ecclesiasticus was primitively written. The language of the fragments is manifestly not rabbinic, but classical Hebrew; and this conclusion is decidely borne out by a comparison of their text with that of the quotations from Ecclesiasticus, both in the Talmud and in the Saadia, which have already been referred to.
Again, the Hebrew of the newly found fragments, although classical, is yet one of a distinctly late type, and it supplies considerable material for lexicographic research. Finally, the comparatively large number of the Hebrew manuscripts recently discovered in only one place Cairo points to the fact that the work in its primitive form was often transcribed in ancient times, and thus affords hope that other copies, more or less complete, of the original text may be discovered at some future date.
To render their study convenient, all the extant fragments have been brought together in a splendid edition. The metrical and strophic structure of parts of the newly discovered text has been particularly investigated by H. Grimme and N. Schlogl, whose success in the matter is, to say the least, indifferent; and by Jos. Knabenbauer, S. It was, of course, from a Hebrew text incomparably better than the one we now possess that the grandson of the author of Ecclesiasticus rendered, the book into Greek.
This translator was a Palestinian Jew , who came to Egypt at a certain time, and desired to make the work accessible in a Greek dress to the Jews of the Dispersion , and no doubt also to all lovers of wisdom.
His name is unknown, although an ancient, but little reliable, tradition "Synopsis Scripurae Sacrae" in St. Athanasius's works calls him Jesus, the son of Sirach. His literary qualifications for the task he undertook and carried out cannot be fully ascertained at the present day.
He is commonly regarded, however, from the general character of his work, as a man of good general culture, with a fair command of both Hebrew and Greek. He was distinctly aware of the great difference which exists between the respective genius of these two languages, and of the consequent difficulty attending the efforts of one who aimed at giving a satisfactory Greek version of a Hebrew writing, and therefore begs expressly, in his prologue to the work, his readers' indulgence for whatever shortcomings they may notice in his translation.
He claims to have spent much time and labour on his version of Ecclesiasticus, and it is only fair to suppose that his work was not only a conscientious, but also, on the whole, a successful, rendering of the original Hebrew.
One can but speak in this guarded manner of the exact value of the Greek translation in its primitive form for the simple reason that a comparison of its extant manuscripts — all apparently derived from a single Greek exemplar — shows that the primitive translation has been very often, and in many cases seriously, tampered with. The great uncial codices , the Vatican, the Sinaitic, the Ephraemitic , and partly the Alexandrian, though comparatively free from glosses, contain an inferior text; the better form of the text seems to be preserved in the Venetus Codex and in certain cursive manuscripts , though these have many glosses.
Undoubtedly, a fair number of these glosses may be referred safely to the translator himself, who, at times added one word, or even a few words to the original before him, to make the meaning clearer or to guard the text against possible misunderstanding. But the great bulk of the glosses resemble the Greek additions in the Book of Proverbs; they are expansions of the thought, or hellenizing interpretations, or additions from current collections of gnomic sayings.
The following are the best-ascertained results which flow from a comparison of the Greek version with the text of our Hebrew fragments. Oftentimes, the corruptions of the Hebrew may be discovered by means of the Greek; and, conversely, the Greek text is proved to be defective, in the line of additions or omissions, by references to parallel places in the Hebrew. At times, the Hebrew discloses considerable freedom of rendering on the part of the Greek translator; or enables one to perceive how the author of the version mistook one Hebrew letter for another; or again, affords us a means to make sense out of an unintelligible expressions in the Greek text.
Lastly, the Hebrew text confirms the order of the contents in xxx-xxxvi which is presented by the Syriac, Latin, and Armenian versions, over against the unnatural order found in all existing Greek manuscripts.
Like the Greek, the Syriac version of Ecclesiasticus was made directly from the original Hebrew. This is wellnigh universally admitted; and a comparison of its text with that of the newly found Hebrew fragments should settle the point forever; as just stated, the Syriac version gives the same order as the Hebrew text for the contents of xxx-xxxvi; in particular, it presents mistaken renderings, the origin of which, while inexplicable by supposing a Greek original as its basis, is easily accounted for by reference to the text from which it was made must have been very defective, as is proved by the numerous and important lacunae in the Syriac translation.
It seems, likewise, that the Hebrew has been rendered by the translator himself in a careless, and at times even arbitrary manner. The Syriac version has all the less critical value at the present day, because it was considerably revised at an unknown date , by means of the Greek translation.
Of the other ancient versions of Ecclesiasticus, the Old Latin is the most important. It was made before St. Jerome's time, although the precise date of its origin cannot now be ascertained; and the holy doctor apparently revised its text but little, previously to its adoption into the Latin Vulgate. The unity of the Old Latin version, which was formerly undoubted, has been of late seriously questioned, and Ph.
Thielmann, the most recent investigator of its text in this respect, thinks that chs. Conversely, the view formerly doubted by Cornelius a Lapide , P. Sabatier, E. Bengel, etc. The version has retained many Greek words in a latinized form: eremus vi, 3 ; eucharis vi, 5 ; basis vi, 30 ; acharis xx, 21 , xenia xx, 31 ; dioryx xxiv, 41 ; poderes xxvii, 9 ; etc.
It is indeed true that other features of the Old Latin — notably its order for xxx-xxxvi, which disagrees with the Greek translation, and agrees with the Hebrew text — seem to point to the conclusion that the Latin version was based immediately on the original Hebrew. But a very recent and critical examination of all such features in i-xliii has let H. Herkenne to a different conclusion; all things taken into consideration, he is of the mind that: "Nititur Vetus Latina textu vulgari graeco ad textum hebraicum alterius recensionis graece castigato.
Together with graecized forms, the Old Latin translation of Ecclesiasticus presents many barbarisms and solecisms such as defunctio , i, 13; religiositas , i, 17, 18, 26; compartior , i, 24; receptibilis , ii, 5; peries, periet , viii, 18; xxxiii, 7; obductio , ii, 2; v, 1, 10; etc. Again, from a fair number of expressions which are certainly due to the translator, it may be inferred that at times, he did not catch the sense of the Greek, and that at other times he was too free in rendering the text before him.
The Old Latin version abounds in additional lines or even verses foreign not only to the Greek, but also to the Hebrew text. Such important additions — which often appear clearly so from the fact that they interfere with the poetical parallelisms of the book — are either repetitions of preceding statements under a slightly different form, or glosses inserted by the translator or the copyists. Owing to the early origin of the Latin version probably the second century of our era , and to its intimate connection with both the Greek and Hebrew texts, a good edition of its primitive form, as far as this form can be ascertained, is one of the chief things to be desired for the textual criticism of Ecclesiasticus.
Among the other ancient versions of the Book of Ecclesiasticus which are derived from the Greek, the Ethiopic , Arabic, and Coptic are worthy of special mention. Augustine bears witness, the work was oftentimes ascribed "on account of some resemblance of style" with that of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Canticle of Canticles, but to whom, as the same holy doctor says, "the more learned" apparently among the church writers of the time "know full well that it should not be referred" On the City of God, Bk.
XVII, ch xx. At the present day, the authorship of the book is universally and rightly assigned to a certain "Jesus", concerning whose person and character a great deal has indeed been surmised but very little is actually known. In the Greek prologue to the work, the author's proper name is given as Iesous , and this information is corroborated by the subscriptions found in the original Hebrew: 1, 27 Vulgate , 1, 29 ; li, His familiar surname was Ben Sira, as the Hebrew text and the ancient versions agree to attest.
He is described in the Greek and Latin versions as "a man of Jerusalem " 1, 29 , and internal evidence cf. His close acquaintance with "the Law, the Prophets, and the other books delivered from the fathers", that is, with the three classes of writings which make up the Hebrew Bible, is distinctly borne witness to by the prologue to the work; and the idioms or phrases, which the study of the Hebrew fragments has shown to be derived from the sacred books of the Jews , are an ample proof that Jesus, the son of Sirach, was thoroughly acquainted with the Biblical text.
He was a philosophical observer of life, as can be easily inferred from the nature of his thought, and he himself speaks of the wider knowledge which he acquired by traveling much, and of which he, of course, availed himself in writing his work xxxiv, The particular period in the author's life to which the composition of the book should be referred cannot be defined, whatever conjectures may have been put forth in that regard by some recent scholars.
The data to which others have appealed xxxi, 22, sqq. The time at which Jesus, the author of Ecclesiasticus, lived has been the matter of much discussion in the past. But at the present day, it admits of being given with tolerable precision. Two data are particularly helpful for this purpose. The first is supplied by the Greek prologue, where he came into Egypt en to ogdoo kai triakosto etei epi tou Euergetou Basileos , not long after which he rendered into Greek his grandfather's work.
The "thirty-eighth year" here spoken of by the translator does not mean that of his own age, for such a specification would be manifestly irrelevant. It naturally denotes the date of his arrival in Egypt with a reference to the years of rule of the then monarch, the Egyptian Ptolemy Euergetes; and in point of fact, the Greek grammatical construction of the passage in the prologue is that usually employed into the Septuagint version to give the year of rule of a prince cf.
Haggai , 10 ; Zechariah , 7 ; ; 1 Maccabees ; ; etc. But to decide which is the one actually meant by the author of the prologue is an easy matter. This latter prince shared the throne along with his brother from B.
But he was wont to reckon the years of his reign from the earlier date. Hence "the thirty-eighth year of Ptolemy Euergetes", in which the grandson of Jesus, the son of Sirach, came to Egypt , is the year B. This being the case, the translator's grandfather, the author of Ecclesiasticus, may be regarded as having lived and written his work between forty and sixty years before between and B.
The second datum that is particularly available for determining the time at which the writer of Ecclesiasticus lived is supplied by the book itself. It has long been felt that since the son of Sirach celebrated with such a genuine glow of enthusiam the deeds of "the high priest Simon, son of Onias", whom he praises as the last in the long line of Jewish worthies, he must himself have been an eyewitness of the glory which he depicts cf.
This was, of course, but an inference and so long as it was based only on a more or less subjective appreciation of the passage, one can easily understand why many scholars questioned, or even rejected, its correctness. But with the recent discovery of the original Hebrew of the passage, there has come in a new, and distinctly objective, element, which places practically beyond doubt the correctness of the inference. In the Hebrew text, immediately after his eulogism of the high priest Simon, the writer subjoins the following fervent prayer :.
May His i. Yahweh's mercy be continually with Simon, and may He establish with him the covenant of Phineas, that will endure with him and with his seed, as the says of heaven I, Obviously, Simon was yet alive when this prayer was thus formulated; and its actual wording in the Hebrew implies this so manifestly, that when the author's grandson rendered it into Greek, at a date when Simon had been dead for some time, he felt it necessary to modify the text before him, and hence rendered it in the following general manner:.
May His mercy be continually with us , and may He redeem us in His days. Besides thus allowing us to realize the fact that Jesus, the son of Sirach, was a contemporary of the high priest Simon, chap. On the one hand, the only known title of Simon I who held the pontificate under Ptolemy Soter, about B.
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