The Book of Sirach

For the last week or so we have been reading from the Book of Sirach at Mass. It’s always helpful to look into the background of the books of scripture and ask when, for whom, and why were they written.

The Book of Sirach was written by a Jewish sage in Jerusalem around 200 BC in Hebrew and was translated into Greek sometime later, scholars say. It seems to me authors like Sirach were people who loved their Jewish tradition and wanted to pass on its wisdom to a generation that might be saying: “We don’t see anything in it for us any more.”

Is the Book of Sirach a grandfather’s attempt to speak to grandchildren abandoning their own tradition as they experience a powerful Greco-Roman influence on the world of their time? If so, do we have to do what Sirach did?

That would mean, first, to love our religious tradition ourselves and, second, to have the wise words and deeds to make it known and appealing to others. The scriptures are not only to be read, they’re to be imitated.



4 thoughts on “The Book of Sirach

  1. Harry Warren

    Hi Fr Victor, A very good friend of mine, a retired nun, once told me that as a young women, she did not see much guidance in her Religious studies, until she read The Book of Sirach. I agreed, it is one of my favorite readings.

    See, he is still speaking to the children. Harry

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Gloria

    Dear Fr. Victor. I’m glad you reflected on Sirach. It’s one of my favorite books of the Bible, especially the vss. on True Friendship and Blessings of Wisdom in chapter 6. His most beautiful vss.are in Chapter 42:15-25 and
    Chapter 43: 1-35. I’ve read them in NAB, RSV, NABRE, and they’re all beautiful, but my favorite version is in the Good News Bible, TEV, with Deuterocanonicals/ Apocrypha. The poetry is exquisite, a heart-warmer and a spirit-lifter. The writer speaks like a friend of God, telling his audience about God’s wonderful works. Peace, Gloria

  3. Gloria

    Absolutely Right, Fr. Victor. In addition to the beautiful poetry which is good for the soul, chapters 42:15-43:35 are important reasons for caring for our
    beautiful planet Earth, which is good for the life of all God’s creatures.
    We humans, who have that means and the knowledge to create all kinds of weapons to destroy, should use the means and knowledge to prevent and preserve God’s good Earth.

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