Due to the discoveries of manuscripts at Masada and Qumran in the mid-sixties, the study of the Book of Ben Sira has produced considerable progress since. This contribution offers a small survey of topics that are still in the centre of Ben Sira research, such as the book’s text and textual history, its structure, its author’s attitude towards Hellenism, and his use of Scripture.
In the Hellenistic world, both in Greece and in Egypt, friendship was a current and popular topic. This no doubt has influenced Ben Sira, a Jewish author from the second century bce, who in his book of wisdom has included no less than seven passages on different aspects of friendship. As a keen observer he lays stress on the sociological, or rather the socio-ethical foundations and implications of being one's friend. Over and above this, it always is fear of God (...) which directs one's friendship aright. (shrink)